The government must address issues in its national vaccination program such as brand preference, vaccine hesitancy, access to vaccines in far-flung areas, lack of manpower, and other logistical problems, senatorial aspirant and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno said on Thursday, Dec. 2.
Solving these issues will help accelerate the inoculation of more Filipinos and boost the country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response ranking.
“The government must also look into other issues that hamper the vaccine rollout and slow down the inoculation of many Filipinos,” Diokno, who is running under the opposition ticket of Vice President Leni Robredo, said.
He seconded the recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) on vaccine rollout, such as the holding of outreach and house-to-house activities for vulnerable sectors.
Quoting WHO’s suggestion, Diokno highlighted the need for “strong partnerships at all levels”, including the private sector.
He said these must be strengthened to fill in the gaps in the vaccination program such as lack of manpower and logistics.
“In this war against COVID-19, we need all hands on deck. The government cannot do this alone. It needs the help of the private sector to get the job done, and the private sector has helped and is, I am sure, willing to help as much as it can,” he said.
His remarks came after the release of the latest Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking for November wherein the Philippines remained in last place out of 53 countries with a score of 43.1.
In October, the country also placed last with a resilience score of 40.5.
This is the third straight month that the media outfit placed the country last in its COVID-19 resilience ranking.
Diokno noted that the Bloomberg report especially took notice of the country’s slow vaccine rollout. This prevented the country from improving its ranking.
The report noted that the country has given out 73.2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per 100 people.
Diokno identified several problems being faced by the government’s national vaccination program such as the lack of access, especially to those living in far-flung areas and senior citizens; frontline healthcare manpower, vaccination facilities, supplies and other logistic woes.
He also stressed the importance of recognizing the problem of brand preference and vaccine hesitancy among people.
The government had just concluded a three-day national vaccination program, wherein it inoculated 5,000,353 Filipinos in the first two days.
Data for the third day, Dec. 1, is not yet available. The target for the three-day nationwide vaccination program was nine million.