PRISONERS, or formally referred to as persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), are included in the government’s priority groups for vaccination against coronavirus, the Health said on Friday.

“Groups at significant higher risk including all PDLs as determined by (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) and (Bureau of Corrections) are included under the Priority Eligible Group B-9,” Department of Health-National Vaccine Operations Center Chair Myrna C. Cabotaje said in a letter to Kapatid, a group representing families of political prisoners

She also assured that every consenting Filipino will be vaccinated, “including all Political Prisoners.”

Kapatid earlier appealed to the government for elderly inmates and those with grave illnesses to be given priority in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inoculation program “as part of the most at-risk groups to directly control the spread of sickness and deaths inside prison facilities, which also affects the communities surrounding them.”

The also previously asked for the inclusion of about 215,000 inmates in the country’s crowded jails in the priority list of groups to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker on Friday called on the government to also prioritize public school officials and employees for COVID-19 vaccination.

BHW Party-list Rep. Angelica Natasha Co in a statement said the Department of Education (DepEd) should look into vaccinating its personnel as discussions are ongoing for the resumption of face-to-face classes.

“By now, DepEd should be checking on the health status and vaccination readiness of all its 900,000 personnel and the personnel of the private schools preparing to inevitably reopen,” she said.

Over 2,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel under DepEd were tested positive for the COVID-19, the lawmaker noted.

Ms. Co also said the Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority should likewise look into its capability to vaccinate its personnel. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago and Gillian M. Cortez