Some 10,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses originally allocated for employees in the tourism sector arrived at the Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) on Wednesday afternoon, paving the way for the inoculation of around 5,000 workers in the industry and the projected reinvigoration of tourism in Bohol.
The allocation of vaccine doses for tourism industry workers in Bohol was requested by the Department of Tourism and approved by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez and testing czar Vince Dizon, said DOT Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a statement issued Monday.
The batch of vaccines which included 5,000 doses of Gamaleya Research Institute’s Sputnik V from Russia and 5,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac from China were received by tourism industry stakeholders and the provincial government of Bohol led by Governor Art Yap at the BPIA.
Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) spokesperson Dr. Yul Lopez, in a press briefing, said the vaccination of the tourism industry workers could start on Friday but they have yet to designate a venue for the inoculation.
Lopez said the early vaccination will prioritize employees in establishments with Bohol’s tourism seal of excellence called the Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) Seal.
The BIATF mouthpiece added that the Bohol Tourism Office has already prepared a master list of the vaccine recipients.
“Kung mahimo Friday na ta makasugod og pangtupok base sa master list,” he said.
Meanwhile, Yap said that all of the doses were supposed to be for tourism industry workers but noted that the 5,000 Sinovac vaccines will be given to the Tagbilaran City local government unit for the inoculation of senior citizens.
“Ang strict instructions na gikan sa kaulohan para sa tourism stakeholders apan mi hanyo si Mayor Baba Yap karon sige ang iyang text na kung pwede gahinan nato ang atoang mga senior citizens,” said Yap.
The allocation was made provided that the city will also give 5,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine to the tourism industry workers once the LGU receives its share of jabs from the national government “by next week.”
The DOT, since February, has been pushing for the inclusion of tourism industry workers in the priority list of the government’s nationwide vaccination drive.
Puyat has repeatedly highlighted that vaccination is “the only way to restart tourism.”
Both industry stakeholders in Bohol and the provincial government have also made the same appeal for vaccination of tourism workers through the DOT.