THE INTEGRATED Bar of the Philippines, the official organization of all Philippine lawyers, has received confirmation from the government that legal professionals are included in the next priority group for vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The next sector in line for inoculation are those under group A4, which covers economic and government frontliners.

The vaccination program is currently covering the A1 to A3 groups, which include medical workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said prisoners are not yet included in the A5 group, which covers the indigent population.

He told reporters on Tuesday that as of last week, inmates are still “under consideration for (priority group) A5.”

Kapatid, a support group for families and friends of political prisoners, have been appealing to the Department of Health to include inmates in congested jails across the country to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.

“Prisoners should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community, and should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge without discrimination on the grounds of their legal status,” the group said in a March 2 letter to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago