By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
Senator Christopher Lawrence Go. (Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– Senator Christopher Lawrence Go on Friday expressed alarm by the public’s apprehension about getting inoculated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine.
In his manifestation during the Senate hearing on the Covid-19 national vaccine roadmap, Go lamented that some Filipinos, while willing to be vaccinated, seemed to be afraid of receiving Covid-19 vaccine shots.
“Napapansin ko po when I asked the people around the country, gusto po nilang magpa-vaccine. Pero po ang tanong, kung sino po ang mauuna. Ayaw po nila na sila mauna. Nagtuturuan po kung sino ang mauuna (I notice, when I asked the people around the country, they want to be vaccinated. But the question is, who will take the first shot? They are not willing to do so),” he said.
The Philippine government is expected to start its free mass vaccination drive by February.
This, as Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd., the United States’ Pfizer, and the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca are set to arrive in the country next month.
Medical workers, uniformed personnel, select government workers, senior citizens, and the indigents are among those who will be given priority access to the vaccine.
Go said the government should earn the public trust to ensure the successful launch of its immunization program.
“Dapat kunin natin ang kumpiyansa ng taumbayan. Lahat tayo, apektado nito (We need to get the public trust. We are all affected here),” he said. “We have to build on our early successes to ensure that we finally win this war against this virus. At nag-iisa lang po ang sandata upang tuluyan na nating matalo ang Covid-19: iyan ay ang Covid-19 vaccine (And the only weapon to defeat Covid-19 is the vaccine).”
Go also renewed his call on vaccine czar and National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to take the first shots of Covid-19 vaccines to allay public fears.
“Kapag nandyan na po ang vaccine ay magpaturok na kaagad kayo, not because kayo po ang priority, but because ipakita ninyo po sa publiko na dapat pong pagkatiwalaan ang vaccine na inyong pinili (You should be the first to be injected, once the vaccine becomes available, not because you are given priority but because you need to prove that the vaccine that we will have is safe). Show it to the public po to gain the confidence of the people,” he said.
Nationwide info drive
Go also stressed the need to intensify the government’s information campaign to educate the public about the benefits of Covid-19 vaccines.
He said the distribution plan for the vaccine roll-out should also be made public to raise public confidence.
“If we do not adhere to health measures to protect each other, if we continue to nitpick and create controversy where there is none, if we do not communicate with all Filipinos our plan, this pandemic will never end,” Go said.
Go said the government must be able to convince the public that Covid-19 vaccines are “sufficient, safe, and effective.”
“Let us work together and do our part. History has proven time and time again that, in these times of crises, a nation that is united has a higher chance of survival,” he said. (PNA)