While getting vaccinated remains voluntary, Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go today (April 7) renewed his call on government to make Covid-19 vaccines more accessible, especially in far-flung areas and vulnerable sectors.
Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, maintained that while it might be ideal to make vaccination mandatory, government at all levels must instead exert more effort to convince the unvaccinated to get their Covid-19 shots as soon as possible.
“My position remains the same. While it may be ideal to make vaccination mandatory, government in all levels must exert more effort to convince the unvaccinated to get their Covid-19 shots as soon as possible,” he said.
Following the statement made by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during the Talk to the People Address of President Duterte on April 5 that it would be a welcome move if Congress “can muster the political will to make vaccination and booster mandatory”, the senator from Davao insisted that the right of the people to decide for themselves on this matter must be respected.
Nevertheless, Go stressed that the public must be made to realize that it is everyone's moral obligation to keep their respective communities and the entire country safe.
“While we respect the right of our people to decide for themselves on this matter, we have to make them realize that it is everyone's moral obligation to keep our communities safe!,” he emphasized.
“We should make vaccination as accessible as possible for everyone given that we have sufficient supply that should not go to waste,” he added.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), 1.54 percent of the total number of Covid-19 vaccines delivered in the country have gone to waste. About 27 million doses will also expire this July.
Go, thus, urged the government anew to bring the vaccines closer to the people, saying, “Kung kailangang suyurin ang bawat bahay sa mga pinakaliblib na lugar sa bansa ay gawin natin. Huwag na nating pahirapan pa ang ating mga kababayan, lalo na ang mga matatanda at mga nakatira sa malalayong lugar.”
In the same taped briefing with the President, the National Task Force Against Covid-19 reported that as of April 5, 66.3 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated while 64.7 million have received their first dose. However, only 12.26 million Filipinos have obtained their booster shot, which translates to just 16.92% of the target population.
The NTF noted that the key challenges in the country’s vaccination program include the recent low turn-out of the National Vaccination Days, declining daily vaccination output, and low coverage of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) area where only 25 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated.
In this regard, Go reiterated his appeal to the eligible yet unvaccinated Filipinos to get their complete vaccine doses and booster shot.