The Department of Tourism (DOT) hailed on Friday the inclusion of frontline tourism workers in the A1 vaccination priority group, which was originally exclusive for health workers responding to the pandemic.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved on May 15 the prioritization of tourism front-liners or those manning the accommodation establishments being utilized as isolation facilities or quarantine hotels.

“We express our deepest gratitude to Secretary (Carlito) Galvez and the NTF. Most of our tourism workers were reporting for work even at the onset of the pandemic while most of the cities and municipalities were still under an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ),” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

“It is high time that we protect our tourism front-liners knowing that they are risking their lives each time they show up in the designated quarantine and isolation hotels,” she said.

“This move shows the government’s commitment to protect them. Not only will this decision help ensure the survival of the tourism industry; this will also hasten the country’s economic recovery,” Romulo-Puyat added.

The medical front-liners (A1) were the first to be vaccinated in the government’s vaccination program, followed by seniors (A2) and persons with comorbidities (A3).

Vaccination for the A4 priority group, a larger group that includes other tourism front-liners, is expected to start next month.

Tourism workers included under A4 are mostly from the transport sector and the food, restaurant, and accommodation enterprises.

To date, the DOT said a total of 2,507 employees of quarantine hotels nationwide have been successfully inoculated against the coronavirus disease 2019 virus.



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