Press Release
March 2, 2021

Bong Go says National Vaccine Rollout to follow identified order of priority sectors, assures poor and vulnerable are included

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said frontline health care workers will certainly get the first shots of the COVID-19 vaccine as indicated in the list of priority population groups issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

Since the pandemic has disproportionately affected poor and vulnerable sectors by severely restricting their access to jobs, livelihoods, education and healthcare, Go assured that these sectors will also be prioritized and be given access to the vaccines alongside frontliners.

"Parati naming sinasabi [ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte], prayoridad natin ang mga mahihirap at 'yung mga nasa vulnerable sectors. Ito 'yung mga sinasabi nating umiikot [...] 'yung mga taong kailangan lumabas at magtrabaho. 'Yung mga 'isang kahig, isang tuka'. Prayoridad rin po natin sila after dito sa frontliners," Go said in an interview given on Monday, March 1.

"Ngunit unahin muna natin 'yung mga frontliners. Sila 'yung nakasabak sa atin sa giyerang ito [...] kumbaga sa military, bigyan natin sila ng sapat na armas para sa giyerang ito. Sila 'yung nasa harapan [kaya] unahin muna natin sila," he affirmed.

The Senator, who is also chair of the Senate Committee on Health, added that the government's main priority, as of the moment, is to accelerate the deployment of the vaccines to the rest of the country and vaccinate as many medical frontliners as possible.

Go also emphasized that prioritizing frontliners in the vaccine rollout is intended to preserve the country's healthcare system since they are the most vulnerable and most burdened by the pandemic.

Aside from medical workers, the police and military personnel are also included in the priority list since they are also considered as frontliners.

Despite the postponement in the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines, Go assured that the government is closely working with the COVAX Facility, vaccine manufacturers, other multilateral organizations and concerned authorities in order to ensure the immediate delivery of additional vaccines for the country.

"Araw-araw nating kinukulit pati nga 'yung ambassador ng United Kingdom na si Ambassador Daniel Pruce. Kinausap din po natin na tulungan tayong mapabilis [ang delivery] para magkaroon nga ng choices ang ating mga frontliners, ang ating mga kababayan, aside from Sinovac," said Go.

"Sa mga kapatid nating Pilipino, huwag kayong mag-alala. Ang importante rito makita na nag-uumpisa [ang rollout] at ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat. Salamat kay Secretary [Carlito] Galvez. Salamat kay Secretary [Francisco] Duque sa effort nila na walang kapaguran," he continued.

The Senator once more stressed the need for a nationwide information campaign to combat vaccine hesitancy among the public. According to Go, such a campaign will be necessary in order for the country to successfully vaccinate its target of 75 to 80 percent of the population and achieve herd immunity. The faster more people will be immunized, he explained, the faster the country will be reopened.

"Paigtingin natin ang education campaign natin na magtiwala tayo sa bakuna. Ang tanging pag-asa natin dito na makabalik tayo sa normal ay ang bakuna. Huwag kayong matakot sa bakuna, matakot kayo sa COVID-19," appealed the Senator.

"Ang importante rito magkaroon tayo ng anti-bodies at ma-attain natin 'yung herd immunity sa community [level]. 'Pag naabot natin 'yung herd immunity sa community, ay 'yon po 'yung ibig sabihin hindi na kakalat 'yung virus... 'Yon naman ang ating inaasam dito. Magtiwala lang tayo dahil tanging bakuna lamang ang susi at pag-asa natin dito sa problema upang makabalik na tayo sa normal na pamumuhay," he emphasized.

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