Speaker Velasco urges unvaccinated Filipinos to get a jab during 3-day gov't vax rollout

Published November 28, 2021, 6:52 PM

by Melvin Sarangay

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday called on eligible Filipinos who remain unvaccinated to get a jab during the national COVID-19 vaccination days slated on Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 and on Dec. 15 to 17, to help prevent another pandemic surge as families prepare for the holiday season.

Velasco made the call amid concerns over the possible impact of a new COVID-19 variant called Omicron.

“We call on vaccine-eligible Filipinos who have not had a first dose to come forward and get one, so they can protect themselves and their families against the deadly coronavirus, especially with the emergence of a new variant that adds new peril to the holiday season,” the Marinduque lone district congressman said.

“Our best hope for avoiding a holiday spike of COVID-19 infections and deaths lies in large part on people who have not been vaccinated getting a jab during the three-day national vaccination drives.”

The House Speaker lauded as a “brilliant strategy” the Duterte government’s “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program, which targets an additional nine million Filipinos vaccinated from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

The government is keen on achieving its goal of 54 million fully vaccinated Filipinos against COVID-19 by the end of the year with another three-day national vaccination drive set on Dec. 15 to 17.

As of November 26, more than 35 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated, while another 45 million have received the first of two vaccine doses according to data from the National Vaccination Operations Center.

Velasco added that the best way to safely gather with family and friends during the holiday season is for everyone to be vaccinated, especially if they are eligible.

“Having a jab will protect you and your loved ones, especially unvaccinated children and immunocompromised family members, from COVID-19 exposure,” the Marinduque solon stressed.

The House Speaker also reminded the public to stay vigilant in following health and safety protocols, such as wearing of face masks, maintaining safe physical distancing, and practicing good hygiene such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing.

He also appealed to vaccine-hesitant Filipinos to reconsider their position and avail of the COVID-19 vaccines bought by the government.

The lawmaker made the call amid mounting evidence that unvaccinated individuals are twice more likely to develop severe COVID-19, and nearly three times more likely to die from the disease.

Velasco added that vaccines are proven safe and effective at preventing serious illness or death due to COVID-19.

“Vaccines are unquestionably our best hope for getting past the COVID-19 pandemic,” the House leader said.

The Marinduque solon, who believes that vaccines are one of the most important tools to end the pandemic, has advocated coronavirus vaccination even before the country started rolling out its first COVID-19 vaccines last March.

Velasco is the principal author of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which seeks to hasten the purchase and handling of vaccines and set up an indemnity fund to pay individuals who will feel adverse effects after vaccination.