MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday appealed to Filipinos to find time to complete their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine as scheduled, noting that skipping the second shot may offer less protection against the virus.
Duterte made the statement after the health department last week announced that 9 percent of Covid-19 vaccine recipients missed their schedule for the second dose.
“Please find time to go back and line up and show your card so they would know that you are receiving the second dose. Booster po ‘yan (That’s a booster shot),” he said in a pre-recorded public address in Davao City.
He acknowledged that some vaccine brands, such as the one developed by Johnson & Johnson, require only one shot to be effective, but noted that the brands currently available in the Philippines all require two doses.
“Alam mo ang medisina nitong mga Sinovac, Sinopharm, and the rest, dito ngayon (You know the medicines Sinovac, Sinopharm and the rest) which are available in the Philippines, they require a second dose — a booster. At kayong iisa lang, kulang ‘yan. Pakilinya lang uli (And you who received only one dose, that’s lacking. Please line up again) for the second dose because ang proteksyon ninyo (your protection) is not complete without the booster,” he added.
Duterte said it is only after completing their second dose when individuals can have some protection from Covid-19.
“Find time at your convenience na bumalik doon, pumila at magpabakuna na tinatawag nilang second booster. ‘Yun ang magbigay sa inyo ng (please return, line up, and get vaccinated with what they call the second booster. That’s what’s going to give you) more or less a good protection,” he said.
He, however, acknowledged that a Covid-19 vaccine can only prevent severe illness and death and reminded the public to continue adhering to minimum public health standards even after getting vaccinated.
“It does not guarantee that you will not be contaminated unless you observe the protocols of the washing of the hands again and mask, and social distancing kasi hindi pa nawala talaga itong Covid-19 (because Covid-19 is not completely eradicated yet),” he added.
Duterte also directed local government unit (LGU) officials to find out why first dose recipients have failed to get their second shot.
“I want the authorities and the LGUs to find out why this is happening…Kindly help us ferret out the persons who have not received the second booster until now,” he said.
He sought more patience, assuring that the country is a step closer to beating the pandemic with the arrival of more Covid-19 vaccine doses in the coming weeks.
“Matatapos rin ‘to (This will end soon), especially with your cooperation, matatapos ito (this will end soon),” he added.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said those who failed to get their second jab on time can still avail of missed shots.
World Health Organization chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said a reasonable delay in getting the second dose will not matter.
The Philippines has administered around 5.9 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with over 1.5 million fully vaccinated since it kicked off its vaccination drive on March 1. (PNA)