The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will “operationalize” the inclusion of families of soldiers and police in the priority list of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech in Sulu on Saturday, assured soldiers and police that government will also prioritize their families in the government’s free vaccination drive.
“It is the IATF that will operationalize what the President said, so antayin po muna natin ang sasabihin ng IATF (so let’s just wait for what the IATF will say),” Roque said in a press briefing from Samal, Davao del Norte.
He clarified that the government’s priority list will not change, except the inclusion of families of soldiers and policemen.
“I think hindi naman po nababago. Ang ine-expand lang niya is kasama yung mga pamilya ng kasundaluhan (I think it won’t really change. It’s simply being expanded to include the families of soldiers),” he said.
Roque pointed out that only some two to three million people will be added to the priority list should families of soldiers and police will be included as recipients for free vaccine shots.
“Huwag naman po kayong mag-alala. Kasi base sa ating initial list, 24 million ang ating mababakunahan if at all baka madagdagan po ito ng mga (Don’t worry. Based on our initial list, we will vaccinate some 24 million if at all this will only add some) two million if there are three members of the family of men in uniform,” he said.
He also assured that there will be more than enough vaccine doses for all groups in the government’s priority list coming after the first quarter of the year.
“Sobra-sobra naman po yung inaasahan na natin dadating na bakuna (And we will have more than enough doses of vaccines) by the second or third quarter of the year,” he added.
Roque defended the President’s decision to include families of soldiers and police in the priority list, saying that he has executive power to make such actions and pronouncements.
“Executive power is well defined under the Constitution. And of course, the IATF is advisory in nature. They recommend to the President but the IATF’s decisions are, in fact, implemented because of the President’s actions and pronouncements,” he said.
Roque said Duterte’s declaration was done in recognition of the contributions made by soldiers and police in serving and protecting the country and people.
“That’s out of recognition on the part of the President na talagang importante po ang papel na ginagampanan ng ating men in uniform (that the role of men in uniform is important) because theirs is maintenance of peace and order in our society,” he said.
Uniformed personnel are the fifth in the priority list of the government’s vaccination program. First are healthcare workers, indigent senior citizens, other senior citizens, and the indigent population.
The government recently secured 25 million doses of the vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac with initial 50,000 doses expected to arrive by February. (PNA)