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COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for eligible onsite workers starting Dec. 1

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Nov 12, 2021 12:49 pm

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF) has approved the mandatory vaccination of eligible onsite employees in public and private sectors beginning Dec. 1.

“In areas where there are sufficient supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, COVID-19 vaccination of eligible employees tasked to do on-site work shall be required by all establishments and employers in the public and private sector,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a Nov. 12 statement.

However, unvaccinated employees may not be terminated but they will be required to undergo regular RT-PCR testing, or antigen tests, at their own expense. 

According to Roque, the said measures are meant to ramp up demand for COVID-19 vaccination. 

In addition, public transportation services—road, rail, maritime and aviation sectors—will also be required to have their eligible workers fully vaccinated to continue their operations. 

Roque said public and private establishments “may validly refuse entry and/or deny service to individuals who remain to be unvaccinated, or are merely partially vaccinated, despite being eligible for vaccination.”

He added that frontline and emergency services shall continue to provide assistance to all persons, regardless of vaccination status.

Local government units are “strongly enjoined” to issue orders or ordinances providing incentives for fully vaccinated individuals, and for business establishments to require proof of vaccination before individuals may undertake or qualify for certain activities, the spokesperson said.

“Further, all workers to be vaccinated during work hours shall not be considered absent upon sufficient proof of a confirmed vaccination schedule,” he said.

“Accordingly, only the presentation of a medical clearance issued by a government health office, or birth certificate, as the case may be, shall serve as sufficient and valid proof of ineligibility for vaccination,” he added.

All government agencies are also urged to implement measures prioritizing fully vaccinated individuals availing of government programs and services.

As of this writing, there are over 30 million Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard of the Department of Health. 

Metro Manila was recently placed under a more relaxed Alert Level 2 until Nov. 21 as the Philippines has seen a decline in its daily COVID-19 cases after a surge of cases in August and September.

Under Alert Level 2, establishments or activities are allowed to operate at a maximum of 50% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals, including those below 18 years old who are unvaccinated; and 70% outdoor venue capacity provided that all workers/employees of the establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Government agencies also remain fully operational with 50% on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements.