By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday urged the government to include essential workers, especially those who are assigned in the food chain business and basic service utilities, in its list of priority groups for vaccination.
“We categorized them as authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) and allowed them to go out for a living, that’s why we must have them vaccinated,” Marcos said.
The former senator was reacting to reports that while there are local government units, particularly in urban centers, that have reached their vaccine rollout to category A4 or the essential workers, a bigger part of the essential industry manpower remained unvaccinated.
An earlier report by the Department of Health showed that of the more than 28 million essential workers being targeted for vaccination, only a little less than two million have been vaccinated.
“We also need to keep in mind that many of the essential workers are focused on earning a living and a large number of them are daily wage earners so they will not be able to simply be absent from work because their salaries will be reduced,” Marcos said.
He said that having them vaccinated will remove their fear of being infected with COVID-19 and dash any hesitation to go out and work for the daily sustenance of their family.
“It would be a big help if local governments could also figure out how to get them vaccinated despite their busy work hours,” said Marcos, who added that a “night shift” vaccine rollout may be a viable option to suit the “after work” schedule of the essential workers.
“The LGUs can provide a team that will carry out the vaccination at night after the essential workers return from their jobs,” he said.