PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority
18 June 2021 (Friday)
Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is set to start the vaccination of its employees as well as workers in PEZA-registered enterprises and ecozone based on PEZA directives under Memorandum Circular No. 2021-040, dated 09 June 2021.
PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza explained, “In my earnest efforts to discuss with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), we are pleased to announce that all PEZA ecozone workers have now been included under the A4 priority group (Frontline personnel in essential sectors) in the government’s COVID-19 free vaccination program.”
She noted, “This is just one of our ‘balancing acts’ for us to pay back our PEZA locators for giving jobs to their constituents, contributing to the social progress of the area with low poverty and crime incidence.”
A4 Priority Group Vaccination
Pursuant to the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2021-0259, Implementing Guidelines for Priority Groups A4 and A5 and Further Clarification of the National Deployment dated 31 May 2021 and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines and the IATF Resolution No. 117 dated 27 May 2021, the following implementing guidelines which provide directions for the inoculation of Priority Group A4 are to be observed:
1. In consideration of the geographical prioritization, vaccine deployment for Priority Group A4 shall be initially focused on the (a) National Capital Region, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao; and (b) Workers from all other areas.
2. Priority Group A4 shall include individuals who are: (a) physically reporting to the workplace or (b) currently deployed or assigned to perform field work in the private and public/government sectors and the informal (including self-employed and working in private households) sector.
3. In situations where there is a limited supply of COVID- 19 vaccines, priority may be given to eligible Priority Group A4 workers within 40-59 years old, then to those 18-39 years old.
As discussed during the Capacity Building on COVID-19 Vaccination conducted by National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) on 07 June 2021 and in order to facilitate efficient allocation and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines, all ecozone locators/developers are hereby advised to:
1. Designate a focal person who shall take charge of the profiling and masterlisting of all employees;
2. Submit masterlist of all employees utilizing the provided template form to PEZA Zone Administrators and Zone Managers where the zones are located for consolidation by the PEZA Vaccine Task Force at Head Office and submission to the NVOC/IATF-MEID, subject to compliance with the minimum requirements of Republic Act 10173 (Data Privacy Act of 2012). In conducting the masterlisting, companies must also take into account and indicate those individuals who have already been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses), those who have comorbidity and/or allergies, senior citizens, among others.
“Based on the policy for the microplanning of the A4 vaccination rollout, companies are to submit the list to the LGUs. Companies may submit the list to PEZA, but it’s best that LGUs are in the loop so that while PEZA is coordinating at the national level, there’s also coordination at the local level,” noted Director General Plaza.
Furthermore, PEZA/ecozone developers, in coordination with NVOC may utilize any of the following modalities applicable to the needs of the locators within their jurisdiction for vaccination sites:
1. Establish its own vaccination sites and mobilize vaccination teams, compliant with the requirements particularly the Vaccination Workforce (Team and Personnel requirement), Vaccines, Logistics and Cold Chain Inventory and Management, Vaccination Site (including Standard Operational Protocols), Infection Prevention and Control Protocol, AEFI/AESI Surveillance System, Safety Surveillance and Response, among others.
2. NVOC can help in linking with existing vaccination sites with personnel capacities (e.g. AFP health services, national government hospitals such as the Lung Center of the Philippines).
3. Link with the LGUs and utilize the capacity of the LGU’s vaccination sites. The vaccination facilities of the LGUs referred to as the “Bakuna Center” nationwide may be accessed through this link:
This is in accordance with the National Vaccination and Deployment Plan (NVDP) for the simultaneous and non-sequential vaccination of the A4 priority groups.
Also in compliance with the DOLE Labor Advisory No. 03, all ecozone locators/developers are hereby required to adopt and implement the appropriate vaccination policy in the workplace as part of their Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program, which may include but not limited to:
a. Dissemination among their workers and personnel information on vaccine deployment activities, procedures, etc. in the LGUs;
b. Provision of proofs of eligibility to their workers such as but not limited to Company ID, contracts or permits, certificates of eligibility (e.g. employment, deployment, assignment) to their specific workers/personnel who belong to these priority subgroups, or any similar proof of occupation;
c. Adoption of a schedule system for their workers taking into consideration possible adverse reactions of vaccines, which may result in workers taking time off from work.
d. Provision of logistics support (including transport) to facilitate vaccination of their workers, and coordinate with LGUs for the vaccination.
Vaccination of Immediate Family Members
Moreover, the PEZA Chief has suggested for PEZA-registered companies who are already in the process of procuring their own vaccines, supplies, and other services for their COVID-19 vaccination to optionally offer these to their workers’ immediate family members. The vaccination facilities or assistance to workers may be included as an integral activity of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.
“This move is a big help to fast track the vaccination process of the whole country and in turn contribute to nation-building and recovery by attaining herd immunity,” noted Plaza.
The PEZA Chief added, “This is also one way PEZA can contribute in the acceleration of the Philippine economy’s full reopening and transition to the new normal.”