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FILIPINO athletes bound for Tokyo to participate in the Olympics and the Southeast Asian Games have been given premium slots under the national vaccination priority sectors’ list.

Aside from the athletes, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that likewise moving in the queuing of priority sectors for vaccination against the highly-infectious COVID-19 are the workers engaged in the retail and delivery of liquefied petroleum gas.

Related to this, the IATF approved the Technical Working Group’s recommendation to the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (iNITAG) to prioritize the vaccination of athletes, coaches, delegates and officials bound for the Tokyo Olympics and the South East Asian Games,” Roque said in a statement.

The bubble-type training of athletes participating in the two competitions is “subject to the applicable guidelines of the Philippine Sports Commission, the Games and Amusement Board and the Department of Health,” Roque added.

The LPG dealers, retailers and attendants “now form part of the approved Priority Group A4.2 for vaccine deployment under the ‘retail trade operators and frontliners,'” he said.

The coronavirus task force recommended to the iNITAG to include in the A4 priority group the frontline employees of the business process outsourcing industry and the frontline employees of the Commission on Elections.

Economic and government frontliners make up A4, the fourth priority group in the vaccination campaign. The top 3 priority are health workers, the elderly, and people with health risks that make them more prone to developing severe COVID-19.

The inoculation of the A4 and indigents under A5 group is expected to start after May or when the vaccine supply becomes steady, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said.

Authorities have taken delivery of some 8.279 million COVID-19 shots, of which at least 3.229 million have been administered, as of May 18.

With around 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and 19,641 deaths, the Philippines has the second highest tally of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia. 

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