LGUs send doctors to explain COVID jab benefits to the unvaxxed- ULAP

Doctors in the provinces have been sent sent to the barangays to explain the benefits of having the vaccine against the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), a strategy seen to entice more unvaccinated individuals to get their jabs.

Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) president and Quirino Gov. Dakila Cua bared this on Sunday, Jan. 16 that some barangay captains have sought the assistance of the medical doctors to dispel unfounded adverse beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Earlier, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya noted that some still believe that the vaccine will turn them to “zombies.’’ Other unvaccinated persons including some barangay officials shunned the COVID-19 jab purely due to religious beliefs.

Interviewed on dzBB, ULAP president and Quirino Governor Dakila Cua pointed out that the barangay captains are identifying individuals who refuse to get vaccinated but complained of having difficulty in convincing them about the benefits of getting the vaccine.

“Sila (barangay captains) talaga ang sumusuyod (the area). Alam nila kung sino-sino (the unvaccinated) at na-i-re-report naman sa atin. Ang hirap pilitin (unvaccinated). Hindi puwedeng i-force 'yung bakuna sa ating mga kababayan (They are really scouring. They know who they are and these are reported to us. It is very hard to convince them. We cannot force our townmates to be vaccinated),’’ Cua said.

Cua noted that there is a certain percentage of the population that is not comfortable with the vaccine due to either religious or medical reasons, those are the general excuses that they are telling the barangay officials.

Faced with this challenge, Cua said some LGUs deployed doctors to the communities with unvaccinated individuals wooing them to be injected to prevent getting serious illnesses, being hospitalized or in the worst case being dead.

“Pero at least na-i-identify kung sino-sino ito (unvaccinated) ang strategy natin. Pinapapunta ang doctor sa malalayong lugar para doktor ang magpaliwanag (why they should get the vaccine). Puwede sila magtanong, puwedeng malaman ang updates sa bakuna at effectivity nito (But at least the unvaccinated is being identified, that’s the strategy. The doctors are dispatched to the far-flung areas to explain. They can inquire, they can ask for updates about the vaccine and efficacy),’’ Cua noted.

In one of his briefings, President Duterte ordered the barangay officials to restrict the mobility of their unvaccinated constituents and to courteously send them home if they are outdoors for non-essential purposes to protect them as they are susceptible to catching the virus.

As mandated by local ordinances, the DILG ordered the barangay officials to make an inventory of the unvaccinated persons in their community, a move that was shrouded with controversy due to the perceived violation to the right to privacy.

The DILG instructed the barangay officials that arrests will be the last resort or stubborn and persistent unvaccinated individuals.

As of Jan. 15, the country recorded an all-time high daily COVID-19 cases of 39,004, the third straight day where the number of infections were at the highest. (Chito A. Chavez)