24 June 2021 – “When are you going to vaccinate A4 – essential workers?”

This is the common question asked by essential workers categorized under A4 on the priority list of the Department of Health in the vaccination roll out against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Over 20,500 essential workers have already registered in the online vaccination portal of the city at as of June 24, 2021. The number is growing by the day as more and more individuals are registering in the portal signifying their willingness to be vaccinated as protection against COVID-19.

Nurse V Sonia Insas of the CHSO said their vaccination teams are ready to inoculate vaccines to A4 once the DOH gives the green light.

However, only the NCR + eight other provinces near the metropolitan were allowed by the DOH to start vaccinating their essential workers based on the high number of COVID-19 cases as well as the scarcity of vaccine supply.

At present, Baguio is still inoculating the priorities A1 – health workers, A2 – senior citizens and A3 – persons with comorbidities. A total of 81,701 individuals were already vaccinated as of June 24 with combined first and second doses.

Recently, the DOH Department Memorandum No. 2021-0259 allowing vaccines from the COVAX Facility of the World Health Organization “shall continue to be used only for the Al, A2, A3 and A5 categories to ensure equitable access to vaccines especially among the most vulnerable and poorest populations. Vaccines procured by the National Government, the Local Government Units and private sector companies and organizations through the tripartite agreements allowed under Republic Act 11525 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations shall be used for the vaccination of the A4 Priority Group.”

Following the memorandum, the CHSO started vaccinating those under the A5 category or the indigent population. Beneficiaries were already pre-identified based on the list of the City Social Welfare and Development Office with a total of 16,291.

This has caused fury all the more among the essential workers in Baguio, but the CHSO had to follow the DOH directive. – Jessa Samidan