By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reassured during a radio interview on Friday, March 26, that there will be continued deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines into the country should shipments remain on track, and progress in accordance with the agreed schedules between the government and vaccine manufacturers and suppliers.
In a statement, Go said that should supplies arrive on time, the government can expect to fulfill its target to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021. “This will lower the risk of the virus spreading in communities, workplaces and schools and hopefully lead to the end of the pandemic altogether.”
“Tuloy-tuloy ang pagbili ng gobyerno. Hopefully, sa Abril, may five million doses ng bakuna na naka-line up. Pagdating ng Mayo, mayroong additional na naman. Sana tuloy-tuloy ‘to. By second quarter, marami na ang mabakunahan at target mabakunahan ang 70 million by the end of the year para unti-unti natin ma-attain ang herd immunity,” said Go.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go further assured that the government had already secured the necessary amount of doses to vaccinate the country’s frontline healthcare workers.
He stressed that the vaccination priority list issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 must be followed amid reports of individuals jumping the vaccine line.
“Mayroon na tayong around 1.5 million [doses] na mga donated. Kalahati nito ay good for 750,000 frontliners. Ang good news, darating na sa Lunes ang mga binili ng gobyerno. Sasalubungin ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte ang one million doses ng Sinovac. Mayroon pa mga 900,000 na darating mula sa COVAX Facility soon. Mag-tototal ito ng (around) 3.4 million [doses] so enough ito sa frontliners natin,” said Go.
As of the latest count, the government has 1,000,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines and 525,600 Astrazeneca doses. The incoming shipment from Sinovac will raise the country’s total to 2,525,600 doses.
“Ang priority sa ngayon ay mga frontline healthworkers, tapos senior citizens, tapos essential workers at indigents. Huwag kayong mag-alala. Bababa din ‘yan patungo sa lahat,” he continued.
Go reiterated that the country is on schedule to acquire more than 3.4 million doses by the start of the second quarter of this year – enough to inoculate the country’s 1.7 million frontliners. After which, the vaccine program can already start inoculating other sectors in the priority list and eventually reach the general public.
When questioned if he has a vaccine brand preference, the Senator expressed his willingness to be vaccinated with any brand approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He added that he and President Duterte are willing to be inoculated in public to help build public confidence on vaccines, but clarified that the latter can only do so upon the recommendation of his doctor.
“’Yun po ang pinag-aaralan pa. May mga bakunang pwedeng iturok sa senior citizens ,‘yun ang pinag-aaralan ng kanyang doktor,” said Go.
For now, the President and the executive branch remain focused on obtaining enough vaccines for the people amid a limited global supply.
“Kaya kami sa Senado, ipinasa namin ang indemnification law… Iyun ang hiningi [ng mga manufacturers]. Ibinigay natin ang batas na ‘yun. Ang probema ngayon supply. Agawan talaga pero expected natin ‘yan,” he added.
“Patuloy po nating ginagawa ang lahat ng ating makakaya ayon sa batas para makakuha ng sapat, ligtas at epektibong bakuna para sa mga Pilipino. Magtiwala tayo sa gobyerno at huwag tayong matakot sa bakuna dahil ito ang susi at solusyon para malampasan ang krisis na ito,” he ended. (AI/MTVN)