By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. urged the government to include essential workers in the food chain business and basic service utilities on the Covid-19 vaccine priority list.
He made the appeal on Thursday amid reports that local government units (LGUs), particularly in urban centers, have reached their vaccine rollout to category A4, or the essential workers.
However, Marcos deplored that "a bigger part of the essential industry manpower remained unvaccinated."
"We categorized them as authorized persons outside of residence and allowed them to go out for a living, that's why we must have them vaccinated," Marcos said in a statement.
The Department of Health said that of the over 28 million essential workers being targeted for shots, "less than 2 million have been vaccinated."
"Kailangan din po nating isipin na marami sa mga essential workers ay nakatutok sa paghahanapbuhay (We must also realize that many of our essential workers are focused on their jobs)," Marcos said.
"And most of them are daily wage earners, so it is difficult for them to skip work and be absent since it will reduce their earnings," he said in Filipino.
He said having the essential workers in the food chain business and basic service utilities vaccinated will remove their fear of being infected with coronavirus and hesitation to go out and work for the daily sustenance of their family.
"It will be a big help [for them] if local governments can find ways [on] how they can avail [themselves] of vaccines amid their busy work schedules," Marcos said.
He said that a "night shift" vaccine rollout may be a viable option to suit the "after work" schedule of essential workers.
"The LGUs can assign teams who can conduct vaccinations in the evening after the essential workers have gone home from their work," he said.
However, Marcos said "the bigger challenge here is the supply of vaccines."
"I just hope and I strongly urge the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and our local government leaders to include the essential workers on the priority list when vaccine supplies become available," Marcos added.