This website requires JavaScript.

Vaccinees On Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 Excused From Work

Vaccinees On Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 Excused From Work
Vaccination continues at the Marikina Sport Centers to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. Photo by Boy Santos, The Philippine STAR

President Duterte has declared Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan National COVID-19 Vaccination Days” and, as such, employees who skip work to get vaccinated during this time will not be considered absent.

Under Proclamation No. 1253, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Wednesday, Nov. 24, the Departments of Health (DOH) and of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in cooperation with National Task Force against COVID-19, shall lead the observance and implementation of programs, activities and campaigns relative to the three-day immunization drive.

“All health workers, including doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and medical technologies, are called upon to extend their full support and cooperation in providing COVID-19 vaccination during the three-day campaign,” the proclamation read.

The government aims to inoculate 15 million Filipinos all over the country in these three days in a bid to achieve population protection by the end of this year.

The proclamation also states that employees and workers of the government and the private sector who will be vaccinated during the period shall not be considered absent from their work, provided that they present proof of vaccination to their respective employers, subject to rules that may be issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

In its Memorandum Circular No. 16 Series of 2021 dated Nov. 12, the CSC declared that absences incurred by government officials and employees during the day of their inoculation of COVID-19 vaccine as well as during the required treatment or recuperation period from any Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) of COVID-19 vaccine shall be considered “excused absences.”

The CSC said its memorandum apply to all government officials and employees regardless of status of appointment – permanent, temporary, provisional, substitute, coterminous, casual, contractual or fixed term – including local elective officials.

Furthermore, the CSC said the memorandum shall take effect retroactively on March 1, 2021, the official rollout of the vaccination drive in the country.?Under the CSC guidelines, absences from work during the day of inoculation of the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including future booster shots, shall be “excused” provided that the worker can submit proof of vaccination schedule, such as vaccination card and the application for leave of absence.

As for absences due to the required treatment or recuperation period from AEFI of the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including future booster shots, a maximum of 15 calendar days may be allowed for cases of serious AEFIs which may include “hospitalization, persistent or significant disability or incapacity, and life threatening or medically important event or reaction.”

LGU support

During his pre-recorded public address on Tuesday night, Nov. 23, Duterte urged local government units (LGUs) to “mobilize all resources, stakeholders, health human resources and constituents within their areas of jurisdiction to the objective of the COVID-19 National Vaccination Days.”

“I urge all national government agencies as well as provincial and local government units to use all available resources, especially human resources, to help in the vaccination efforts,” the President said as he enjoined LGUs, police and military personnel to work side by side for this endeavor.

“I appeal to all governors and mayors, bring your constituents to the vaccination sites, hospitals, malls and even to Jollibee at McDonald’s branches so they will be vaccinated,” he said, noting how governors and mayors are used to gathering crowds during election campaigns.

The Chief Executive also urged local executives to provide free meals for those who will be vaccinated at Jollibee and McDonald’s outlets.

“Really, you just give me the bill and I will try to pay it if I have the money,” he said.

Moral responsibility

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to participate in the three-day nationwide vaccination campaign as part of their responsibilities for the Catholic Church.

“With Pope Francis, we would also like to encourage our brothers and sisters to participate in the ‘Bayanihan Bakunahan-National Vaccination Days on Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1, 2021 and beyond,” Bishop Rex Ramirez, chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Healthcare said.

Ramirez said the Catholic faithful can help the government promote COVID-19 vaccination in the communities, encourage others to avail of the vaccines in designated areas, collaborate with LGUs in the use of church for vaccination drive and encourage Church workers to volunteer in the campaign.

While he encouraged everyone to join in the campaign, Ramirez said that the people should respect the decision of those who choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 “and thus respect and promote the dignity of the individual conscience as well as the decision of conscientious objection.”

But he said that individuals who wish not to get vaccinated should know their obligations to get protected against COVID-19 as part of everyone’s moral responsibility.

Meanwhile, the President said those who refused to get inoculated against COVID-19 should not be allowed inside public restaurants or resorts “because they are a threat to public health and the safety of the general public.”

Duterte also backed employers who reject unvaccinated applicants.

“I’m not insulting any religion if you refuse it (vaccination) as a matter of religious right. Except that I don’t want you to infect my other employees and bring down my business because my workers are all sick because of you,” he said.

For his part, Sen. Bong Go said all eligible Filipinos should support the national vaccination days in a bid to move the country one step closer to achieving herd immunity against COVID-19.

Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography and administration bet for president in May 2022, emphasized the significance of the Bayanihan Bakunahan program.

Workers appeal for boosters

Meanwhile, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition backed the calls of private business groups to allow them to use their extra COVID-19 vaccines as booster doses for their employees and families.

Nagkaisa said the government should heed the appeal, considering that booster vaccination is necessary due to the waning efficacy of COVID-19 jabs.

“Majority of workers want to be protected from COVID-19 by way of being vaccinated. We also don’t want cases to surge again,” said Nagkaisa chairman Sonny Matula.

In a joint statement released last Tuesday, 26 groups asked the government to allow them to do booster inoculation using the extra vaccines that they procured.

The groups underscored that their appeal is reasonable since the country now has a stockpile of vaccines, as announced by the government. – With Robertzon Ramirez, Elizabeth Marcelo, Rudy Santos, Sheila Crisostomo, Jose Rodel Clapano