By Sean Rafio and Joseph B.A. Marzan
People coming to work or even to visit offices of the Iloilo City government will have to get a booster dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, the city administrator’s office said on Monday, as the metro ramps up its defenses versus new cases amid the holiday season.
Local government services will be required to have their fully vaccinated employees receive a booster shot as a condition to continue their operations.
The new rules for in-office employees will take effect Jan 17, 2022, City Administrator Melchor Tan said in an order dated December 27.
Tan said clients who wish to avail of the government’s services at the Iloilo City Hall would also be required to present proof that they have received the booster dose.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Daily Guardian via phone that requiring booster shots for employees and visitors had been due to the threat of the Omicron variant.
Treñas also cited the “hundreds and thousands” of new COVID cases in France every day.
“The Omicron variant is too contagious, that is why we are sending a message that people need to get vaccinated and to get booster shots,” the mayor said in a phone interview.
The mayor also said that booster shots are available for employees, city hall visitors, as well as members of the media at the City Hall 8th floor penthouse.
Half, or 3,051,425 of Western Visayas’ 5,579,380 eligible population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, data from the Regional Vaccination Operations Center (RVOC) indicated as of Monday.
RVOC data also indicated that 46,491 individuals from health care workers, senior citizens, and adults with comorbidities have already received booster doses.
But Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WV CHD) data as of Dec 27 indicated that a total of 9,422 individuals have received booster shots in Iloilo City.
These include 4,448 A1 (Healthcare frontliners), 2,922 A2 (Senior citizens), and 2,052 A3 (Persons with comorbidities).