Press Release
January 2, 2021

Villar welcomes free vaccination of OFWs in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; sees hope for economic recovery in 2021

Concerns about the safety of millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) amid the global pandemic will ease as more countries roll out their COVID19 vaccination programs, Senator Cynthia Villar said today.

"We welcome the New Year with hope as more countries including our own prepare their respective COVID19 inoculation campaigns," Senator Villar said.

Villar commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for putting up more than 550 vaccination stations in Riyadh with more stations to be set up in all other areas.

"According to Philippine Ambassador Adnan Alonto, the vaccination program against COVID19 in Saudi Arabia will also cover all our OFWs at the expense of the Saudi government," the senator said. She urged OFWs in Saudi Arabia to register for the vaccine, which is being made available for free.

The Philippine ambassador received his first inoculation with the vaccine developed by Pfizer yesterday (December 30) as he encouraged OFWs in Saudi Arabia to register on the prescribed government app (Sehhaty) to schedule their vaccination.

Meanwhile, in Bahrain, the country's health centers have started giving the vaccines every day from 8 AM until 6 PM for free to its nationals and residents, 18 years and above. Bahraini King Hamad was recently vaccinated against COVID-19 as his government launched the nationwide inoculation campaign.

Bahrain is the second country after Britain to grant emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. It has also approved Sinopharm's vaccine last November.

The United Kingdom has ordered 100 million jabs with 40 million to be rolled out by March next year. The first Pfizer vaccine doses in Britain were delivered to care homes with "roving" health teams tasked to visit hundreds of additional care homes y New Year's Eve. The Oxford vaccine will be made available across the United Kingdom from January 4 after British government approved the new vaccine yesterday (Dec. 30).

Villar said she will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to report on the progress of COVID19 vaccination programs in countries with a high concentration of OFWs during the forthcoming Senate committee of the whole inquiry into the government's own vaccination plans.

"As more countries roll out their respective anti-COVID19 inoculation campaigns, we will see the anxieties of our OFWs and their families ease because the health and safety of our workers will more or less be assured in the coming year," Villar said.

The senator noted that the Philippines should now look at how other countries have launched their vaccination drive. "Let us gather reports from our embassies and start looking at best practices being done by other countries who are now actively setting up inoculation stations for their residents and foreign workers."

In her New Year's message, Senator Villar stressed the importance of national unity and hope in overcoming all challenges arising from the COVID19 pandemic.

"Let our efforts to overcome the global pandemic unite us as we look forward to the arrival of vaccines for our people in the coming year," the senator said.

She said that the government has much to learn from the experience of other countries in rolling out a nationwide vaccination drive.

"The first major step towards economic recovery begins once we are able to successfully roll out our own vaccination program in the Philippines," Villar said. She added that as more countries roll out their vaccination program, the faster it would be for the global economy to recover.

She said that the Philippines should keep an eye out for economic opportunities that can arise from the slow but steady growth in the global economy by the third and fourth quarters of 2021 as the world recovers from the COVID19 pandemic.

News Latest News Feed