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Vaccination of tourism frontliners under way

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat (Contributed photo)

OVER 1,500 tourism frontliners have been already been vaccinated under the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat disclosed that the frontliners who received their first vaccine dose as of April 30, were from Department of Tourism-accredited establishments along with quarantine/isolation facilities licensed by local government units, and non-quarantine DOT-accredited accommodation establishments.

“I am pleased to announce that the vaccination of those in the A4 Priority Group, which includes tourism frontline workers, has begun under the Government’s Covid-19 vaccination program. We have also received word that LGUs [local government units] who have already covered the majority of those in the A1 to A3 classification, will also begin vaccinating those in the A4 group,” said the DOT chief in a news statement.

Under the A4 priority list are tourism industry workers in airports, airlines, transport companies, and those in hotels and other accommodation establishments. Romulo Puyat had appealed for more tourism workers to be included in the A4 priority list such as tour guides, operators and other accredited workers and service providers.

In a related development, some 150 frontline personnel of quarantine hotels were among the hundreds of workers who were vaccinated against Covid-19, in a symbolic vaccination of laborers as part of the government’s commemoration of Labor Day on May 1.

Romulo Puyat said the inclusion of tourism frontliners in the A4 priority list augurs well for the tourism industry, which will be able to speed up its recovery when the economy transitions to the “better normal” after the Covid-19 pandemic.

She expressed gratitude to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of  Emerging Infectious Diseases and colleagues at the Departments of Labor and Employment, and of Health for accommodating tourism workers in the A4 Priority List.

The DOT tapped the Philippine Hotel Owners Association, the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association Inc., and the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines in identifying the tourism frontliners. Earlier, the Manila City government vaccinated a number of hotel workers from DOT-accredited establishments, possibly the earliest in inoculating tourism frontliners. (See, “DOT urges vaccine czar to include more tourism workers in A4 priority list,” in the BusinessMirror, March 31, 2021.)

“Tourism has always played a major part in uplifting the economy, even before the pandemic. It is only by ensuring the good health and safety of our tourism workers through their inoculations we can be assured that they will be ready for the industry’s restart,” said Romulo Puyat.

“Resbakunahan sa Araw ng Paggawa,” the symbolic vaccination of some 5,000 laborers, was conducted in three main venues: Palacio De Maynila on Roxas Boulevard in Manila, Lakeshore Hub in Taguig, and the Covered Walk in front of the Quezon City Hall.  Other local governments also held their respective vaccination of workers the same day.

“The DOT looks forward to the day when each and every worker with a stake in the future of our industry will be inoculated against this virus so we can carry on with renewed hope, and embark on our road to tourism recovery,” Romulo Puyat stated.

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