Gov't to start vaccinating senior citizens, people with comorbidities alongside health workers

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The government will now vaccinate senior citizens and people with comorbidities at the same time as healthcare workers starting Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced Saturday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — The government will now vaccinate senior citizens and people with comorbidities at the same time as healthcare workers starting Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced Saturday.

Roque also said hospitals and local government units are encouraged to craft a "substitution list" consisting of vaccinees from the A1, A2, and A3 sectors. A1 refers to medical fronliners, A2 to senior citizens, while A3 covers persons with comorbidities.

"We encourage all hospitals at [and] later on ating mga local government units na magkaroon ng [to have a] substitution list basta manggagaling sa [as long as it belongs to the] A1, A2, A3," Roque told reporters. "Hangga't maaari sundin ang priority pero kung hindi maiwasan, basta manggaling sa A1, A2, A3 [As much as possible follow the order of priority but if it cannot be avoided, it is alright as long as they belong to the A1, A2, A3]."

To avoid crowding, Roque said vaccinees should wait for a notice before going to the vaccination sites. The Department of Health has already begun asking senior citizens to register for their vaccination.

The national government earlier proposed a "simultaneous vaccination" to speed up immunization efforts amid the expected arrival of more doses this week. One million vaccines from China's Sinovac will arrive on Monday.

The government is set to re-impose enhanced community quarantine, the strictest lockdown, on Metro Manila and four nearby provinces on Monday. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace has applied for an exemption from the national task force to be allowed to hold a public ceremony to welcome the arrival of the Sinovac doses. ECQ rules state that mass gatherings are prohibited and events should only be limited to 10 attendees.

Roque said the President is expected to attend the welcome ceremony after he returns from his birthday celebration in Davao on Sunday.