Single-shot vax plan to ease OFWs’ return to work

June 1, 2021

The government’s plan to give a single dose coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will help them smoothly return to work in their host countries, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Tuesday.

“We are supporting the move to give our OFWs, especially our seafarers, to be given one dose of the vaccine. I think there is something like that, Johnson&Johnson. It’s the suggestion of our vaccine czar (Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.) and we are supporting that,” Bello said in a Laging Handa presser.

He said once fully vaccinated, OFWs can easily return to their host countries without undergoing stringent health screening.

“Once they have been inoculated, they will be okay and will be accepted by the destination countries. They will no longer undergo swabbing and quarantine,” he added.

Currently, only Johnson&Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is a single-dose jab while other brands require two doses.

In February, Galvez reported that the country has secured a deal for five million doses of the American-made jabs. However, the date of the vaccines’ delivery to the Philippines has yet to be set.

The Janssen vaccine was granted an emergency use authorization by the country’s Food and Drug Administration in April.

Bello, meanwhile, said while OFWs who were only vaccinated with a first dose will be allowed entry by their host countries, they will still undergo quarantine and swab testing.

He added that the vaccines that will be given to seafarers will also be given to land-based OFWs.

“There’s no problem, the vaccine for seafarers will also be given to land-based (workers). Because our seafarers are also OFWs,” he added.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “inclined” to approve calls to provide western-made Covid-19 vaccines to Filipino seafarers if required for work.

These include Johnson&Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. (PNA)