Sotto expects senate inquiry on vaccination program to help allay people’s fears

Published January 9, 2021, 6:10 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III is hoping that the chambers’ upcoming inquiry on the government’s vaccination program will help address the public’s hesitation to be immunized against COVID-19.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Sotto underscored the importance of explaining to the Filipinos the government’s COVID-19 immunization plans following a survey by OCTA Research, which showed that only 25 percent of Metro Manila residents are willing to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

The Senate Committee of the Whole is set to conduct a hearing on Monday, Jan. 11, on the government’s coronavirus vaccination program, particularly its specific plans on spending the P72.5-billion allocation under the 2021 budget for this purpose.

“We need to give our countrymen enough information so they they would trust this program,” the Senate chief said in Filipino, over radio DWIZ.

“It’s for the benefit of our people, to appease their worries since the result of the survey was really bad. Many doubt the vaccines, while other simply refuse to be immunized,” he added.

Sotto said the committee is also expected to question officials on the delay in the national government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, despite Congress’ appropriation of funds.

He noted that local government units and corporations have already started initiatives to acquire vaccines for their constituents and employees. “That is what has been happening right now because of the delays,” he said.

Earlier, Sotto said the Senate does not aim to dwell on the early inoculation of members of President Duterte’s Cabinet and security officials using unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines.