Go urges government to speed up vaccination drive

Published January 22, 2022, 5:43 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the government to further fast track the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as the government seeks to fully vaccinate 77 million Filipinos by the end of the first quarter of 2022 and 90 million by the end of second quarter.

“Umaapela po ako sa gobyerno na mas pabilisin pa lalo ang pagbabakuna at kung maaari ay dalhin mismo sa bahay ang bakuna ng mga willing maturukan pero hindi kayang pumunta sa vaccination sites (I am appealing to the government to accelerate the vaccination effort and if possible, the vaccination should be conducted at the houses of the willing but could not go to vaccination sites),” Go, chairman of the Senate Health committee, said.

“Hinihimok ko rin ang ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna na sa lalong madaling panahon (I also appeal to our countrymen to have themselves vaccinated at the earliest possible time). Nasa datos naman po na kapag bakunado kayo laban sa COVID-19, maiiwasan ninyo ang pagkakaroon ng malalang kaso nito o ang maospital (Data have shown that the effect of infection on those vaccinated is slight),’’ he added.

The senator from Davao also appealed to make vaccines more accessible in rural and far-flung areas as the number of new cases in regions outside Metro Manila has also been rising.

“I’m also urging my fellow government officials, particularly local chief executives, to guarantee that the vaccines are distributed in a timely manner,” said Go

“Let us take it upon ourselves to make vaccines more accessible to individuals who may have difficulty acquiring them, such as people with disabilities and those who live in rural or hard-to-reach areas,” he added.

COVID-19 infections are on the rise outside of Metro Manila, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday that the Omicron variant has been detected in more than 90 percent of genome-sequenced samples in the country. This is a 30 percent increase over the 60 percent announced last week.

Duque also stated that Omicron had already eclipsed Delta as the most common COVID-19 variant in the country.

Earlier, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced simplified vaccination procedures that would help ensure qualified Filipinos receive the vaccine as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

The procedures include allowing walk-in admissions and dropping of the medical clearance requirement. House-to-house inoculations will also be conducted for those who are unable to travel to a vaccination site due to health or mobility issues.

As of January 20, 56.8 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated, according to DOH. About 59.6 million individuals have obtained their first dose while 5.8 million have received their booster shot. The government has administered a total of 122.3 million COVID-19 doses since rollouts began. Meanwhile, the country has received a total of 215,519,520 vaccines.

To accomplish its target, the government seeks to find and vaccinate the remaining three million senior citizens and concentrate on regions and areas with more unvaccinated individuals. It also aims to maximize the use of the single-dose Janssen vaccines.

To help accelerate the vaccine program, the senator had issued several appeals to the public and private sectors to come up with incentives to encourage those who remain hesitant to get their shots.