Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go revealed Wednesday that the national government is targeting to start the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
“Sa ngayon po ay ini-expect ng ating national government na, hopefully, bago matapos ang first quarter, makapag-umpisa na tayo makapagturok. Sinisiguro lang natin na safe ang vaccine na bibilhin,” Go said during an ambush interview right after he personally led the distribution of assistance to hundreds of fire victims and tricycle drivers in Obando, Bulacan.
(The national government hopes to begin inoculating with COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the first quarter. It is making sure that the vaccine to be bought would be safe)
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go said that he would see to it that the poor and vulnerable sectors would be prioritized for the vaccine.
Go urged the government to ramp up its information dissemination campaign to build vaccine confidence among Filipinos.
“Ang info campaign, paigtingin pa, at dapat maintindihan po ng bawat Pilipino kung ano bang benepisyo nitong vaccine na ito dahil marami pa pong kababayan natin ang takot at ang attitude, nagtuturuan, kayo muna mauna dahil takot pa sila,” he said, urging vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. to ensure the safety, efficacy, and adequacy of supply of the vaccines.
(In this information campaign, every Filipino should understand the benefits of the vaccine because many of them are afraid and their attitude on vaccination is “you first’’ because they are afraid)
Go urged concerned agencies to ensure the systematic distribution of the vaccines.
“Ang distribution ng vaccine, dapat aabot po sa pinakasulok ng Pilipinas. Tayo sa Metro Manila, mauuna tayo dahil nandito ang storage. Pero paano po ang mga kababayan natin sa pinakasulok ng Pilipinas? Paano aabot sa kanila ang vaccine?” he asked.
(The distribution of vaccines must reach every corner of the country. Here in Metro Manila, we will be first because of the presence of cold storage. How about our countrymen in far-flung areas? How will the vaccines reach them?)
“Dapat pag-aralan na ‘di sila mahuhuli, lalo na po ang mahihirap, ni pambili wala po, ni access wala po,” he added.
(Government must study that they would not be left behind, particularly the poor, those without funds and those without access)
To also help ensure a more efficient distribution of vaccines, Go said that he supports the move of some local government units (LGUs) to sign deals for the purchase of their own vaccines through a tripartite agreement.
He urged Galvez to formulate a process which would expedite the vaccine procurement of LGUs.
Go added that the government must guarantee the safety and efficacy of all the vaccines they are procuring on their level so that the public would not find the need to choose their own vaccines.