Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said the recent decision of President Duterte to support the private sector’s efforts to import vaccines “at will” for their employees and dependents would significantly hasten the rollout of the inoculation program across the country.
“Karamihan sa private sector ay may sariling direct contact po sa vaccine provider sa ibang bansa (Many in the private sector have direct contacts with vaccine providers in other countries), ” Go explained during a recent interview.
“Sana po makatulong ito, mas mapabilis ang vaccine rollout…Kung makakatulong po sila, it will unburden government procurement, makakatulong ito sa gobyerno na mababawasan ang pinapasan nating lahat (We hope they can accelerate the vaccine rollout. If they can help, it will unburden government procurement, it will help government reduce our difficulties),” he added.
The senator reminded the private sector, however, to comply with the requirement of entering into tripartite agreements with the national government and the vaccine manufacturers when importing vaccines.
“Ang gobyerno po ang magbabayad kung may adverse effect po ang bakuna na ito. Ang gobyerno po ang guarantor. Sumunod lang tayo sa patakaran. Hayaan natin ang private sector na tumulong (Government will pay if there are adverse effects of the vaccination. The government is the guarantor. Let’s just follow guidelines. Let’s allow the private sector help),” he said.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, also highlighted the need for a unified effort to boost public confidence among Filipinos to allay fears on getting vaccinated.
He noted signs of “improving” vaccine confidence among Filipinos.
“Dati po, sa kakaikot ko po, una maraming takot, maraming ayaw. Halos ‘di nagtataas ng kamay. Pero no’ng nakita nila na marami na po willing magpabakuna, ngayon po marami nang willing (Before, in my trips, many were afraid, many did not want to get vaccinated. Almost all of them did not raise their hands. Many are now willing after noticing that many people wanted to be inoculated),” he said.
“Ang bakuna ang tanging solusyon. Limitado po ang supply, so binabalanse po ang lahat. Asahan n’yo po na ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat sa abot ng kanilang makakaya (Vaccination is the only solution. Our supply of vaccine is limited, so we need to balance everything. Rest assured, the government is doing everything to the best of its ability),” he added.
Go also stressed the need for the seamless implementation of the vaccination program so the country can achieve herd immunity against the COVID-19.
“Importante po tuluy-tuloy ang rollout. Sana ma-achieve ang target natin at ma-attain natin ang herd immunity sa community (What is important is continuing rollout. We hope to achieve our target and attain herd immunity in our community),” he said.