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OFWs, seafarers receive Moderna vaccine doses from the gov’t through PH Red Cross

OFWs, seafarers receive Moderna vaccine doses from the gov’t through PH Red Cross
Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and seafarers were among those that were first in line for Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses from the Philippine government through the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
Part of Philippine Red Cross’ vaccination initiatives vs COVID-19 is the PRC ‘Bakuna’ Bus. (Photo from PH Red Cross)

PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon said that the humanitarian organization is “very happy that we could assist” in COVID-19 vaccination.

“Every shot is important as every injection takes us a step further from the threats of a contagion,” Gordon said.

The PRC officially started injecting Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 on July 6 after it confirmed receiving its first procured batch of 800 out of the total 200,000 doses last July 3.

During the PRC’s “Bakuna Bus” launch last week, Gordon clarified that the Moderna shots will be “given at cost” and that the organization is “not making a profit out of it.” Aside from the Moderna vaccines purchased by the Red Cross, another 5,000 doses of the same brand will be coming from the government.

For this allotment, the PRC will prioritize OFWs and seafarers who are set to leave the country within the next four months.

“We are giving our OFWs and sailors an advantage so they could safely continue working for their families, lessening the need for financial assistance,” Gordon said.

Meanwhile, Gordon also called labor and manpower agencies to help put together a list of eligible candidates. Forms will be sent in advance to make vaccination faster, more efficient, and less crowded in PRC “Bakuna” Centers.

Gordon is also looking into sending vaccines to chapters in the provinces to reach more OFWs and seafarers.

As the PRC goes full blast in its vaccination efforts, Gordon reiterated the importance of testing.

“We still need more vaccines and while we still lack supply, testing must be intensified,” Gordon said. “And even with a vaccine you can still be a carrier and infect others – testing is still our first line of defense,” he ended.