Public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines needs boost —Robredo

Published January 10, 2021, 4:26 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Top government officials who will get vaccinated for coronavirus disease must not be done in secret to build public trust on its safety, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday, Jan. 10.

Vice President Leni Robredo
(Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

During her weekly radio show, Robredo said the public must know when officials will get a vaccine once it becomes available because hiding it from the people only adds to their fears.

Robredo cited the public vaccination of US President-elect Joe Biden and outgoing Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Pope Francis and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth who both joined the global vaccination program against COVID-19.

“For me, our top officials should not get vaccinated in secret. They should show the people they have nothing to fear [with vaccines],” she said in Filipino.

The vice president stressed the priority list for those to be vaccinated should be strictly followed.

Apart from local governments willing to spend for vaccines, she also urged private companies to invest in vaccines to help the national government in its COVID-19 immunization campaign.

Robredo noted the importance of the private sector’s contribution to the national vaccination program.

The Philippine government recently signed an agreement with the private sector for the purchase of two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Half of the vaccines, which are expected to arrive later this year, will be donated to the government, while the other half will go to private sector employees.

Still, the vice president made the call to private companies as more local government units (LGUs) nationwide have allocated funds to buy COVID-19 vaccines.

“We also encourage companies that can spend for the vaccination of its own employees to invest,” she said in Filipino. “Because every company and LGU that would invest, it would help everyone.”

Robredo is hopeful that local governments unable to procure a vaccine on their own will not be the last priority in the immunization drive.

“We don’t want to it happen that an LGU will be at disadvantage if it can’t buy a vaccine. The distribution, which I think will be done, must be more equitable,” she said.