Kabilang na rin ang Filipino seafarers sa priority recipients ng national vaccination program ng pamahalaan laban sa COVID-19.
Ayon sa Department of Transportation (DOTr), inqprubahan ng Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EUD) ang kanilang rekomendasyon na kilalanin ang mahalagang gampanin ng Filipino seafarers ngayong COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a very good development for our maritime industry champions— our seafarers. Now, our Filipino seafarers will be given priority to be vaccinated,” pahayag ni Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade .
“They work silently, yet their contribution is as crucial as keeping the economy thriving. Not only are they frontliners, but they are undoubtedly heroes, too,” dagdag pa niya.
Nabatid na mula sa dating B3 (other essential workers) o B5 (overseas Filipino workers) sa vaccination priority framework, hiniling ng Inter-Agency Working Group ng DOTr, na i-reclassify ang mga Filipino seafarers at ilagay sa A4 (frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel and those working in sectors identified by the IATF as essential during ECQ.)
“[T]he prioritization of seafarers in the vaccination is based on the following grounds: Filipino seafarers are declared key workers globally and locally; Filipino seafarers are considered mobile, who, as part of their jobs, frequently enter various ports across the world; and shipping companies prefer their workforce to be vaccinated to ensure that their operations will remain smooth, unhampered, and somehow immune to the severe effects of COVID-19,” anang DOTr.
Ang seafarers ay inuri sa dalawang priority groups.
Ang top priority ay ipagkakaloob sa mga aktibong seafarers o yaong may recorded sea service sa nakalipas na tatlong taon, habang ang mga bagong seafarers naman o yaong ang record ay lampas sa 2018 ay papangalawa.
Anang DOTr, mayroong mahigit sa 730,000 Filipino seafarers na ikinukonsidera para sa A4 category.