DOT seeks inclusion of other tourism workers in COVID vaccination priority list | Inquirer News
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DOT seeks inclusion of other tourism workers in COVID vaccination priority list

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 01:18 PM March 30, 2021
104 whale sharks seen for first time in Donsol

Fishermen in Donsol have been trained as “Butanding interaction officers” to guide tourists who want to see whale sharks up close. Local guides also act as protectors of the sea creatures that have made Donsol a top destination for sustainable tourism. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WWF PHILIPPINES)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is pushing for the inclusion of tour guides, operators, and other accredited tourism industry workers and service providers in the COVID-19 vaccination priority list. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the DOT said that it already asked vaccine czar and National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. to widen the scope of the priority group A4. 

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Under the government’s COVID-19 vaccination list, the priority group A4 are those classified as “Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases  (IATF-MEID) as essential during enhanced community quarantine.

The DOT said that the nature of the jobs of the aforementioned workers requires face-to-face interaction with individuals and groups. 

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The friendly coachmen or “kutsero” of the Walled City are not only considered drivers but trained tour guides as well. (INQUIRER file photo / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA)

By widening the scope of the priority group, the DOT added that not only will the tourism workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, but it will also serve as “a firewall of sorts that will restrict the spread of the virus in our tourist destinations.” 

“While we are grateful that Secretary Galvez has included those working in airports and quarantine hotels on the immunization Priority Group A4, we are hopeful that the other tourism frontliners will be prioritized as well,” the DOT said. 

Previously, the IATF approved the simultaneous vaccination of healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities. 

Galvez, meanwhile, also pushed for the simultaneous vaccination of government workers and economic frontliners.

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TAGS: Carlito Galvez Jr., COVID-19, Department of Tourism
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