Press Release
September 7, 2021

Bong Go urges the national government to take steps to expand the vaccine rollout to the general public as more supplies of vaccines are expected to arrive in the country

Senator and Chair of the Committee on Health Christopher "Bong" Go on Monday, September 6, has urged the national government to take necessary steps so it can further expand the national vaccination program to the general public as more supplies come in. He said that increased vaccination is a way to unburden the healthcare system during the pandemic.

"Aside from improving the supply of healthcare capacity, such as adding more hospital beds, ICU beds and medical equipment, equally important is to decrease demand for these facilities," said Go in his opening statement as he presided over a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Health.

"COVID-19 vaccines can reduce the severity of cases, hospitalization and death among those infected," the Senator explained.

"Ibig sabihin, mas protektado po tayo kapag tayo ay bakunado. Kaya po nakikiusap ako sa mga kababayan natin, magtiwala po kayo sa bakuna. Ang bakuna po ang susi o solusyon para unti-unti na tayong bumalik sa ating normal na pamumuhay," he stressed further.

"At ang ating inaasam po sa ngayon ay population protection, 50% po ng population ay bakunado na po, at 70% po makakamtan natin ang herd immunity para naman po sana sumaya ang ating Pasko ngayong taon na ito at makabalik tayo unti-unti sa normal na pamumuhay," he added.

With this, the Senator said that the government can help unburden the healthcare system if more Filipinos are vaccinated. Go also called on those belonging to the priority groups to have themselves inoculated against the disease while the government explores the possibility of further expanding the vaccination drive in addition to the already eligible priority groups and to the general public if supplies are sufficient.

"Nabasa ko rin po ang sulat ng ating mga governors, requesting na buksan po 'yung pagbabakuna sa general public dahil marami naman po ang mga gustong magpabakuna sa ngayon," he said.

In a letter addressed to the National Task Force on COVID-19, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, led by Quirino Governor and ULAP President Dakila Cua, recommended that local government units be allowed to extend the vaccines to their constituents without being limited by the prioritization scheme while maintaining the prioritization of selected groups to reduce morbidity and mortality and protect those who bear significant risks.

Go earlier expressed support for ULAP's request and further appealed for increased awareness campaigns and the provision of incentives to fully vaccinated individuals to address vaccine hesitancy, especially in far-flung and underserved communities.

"And I am sure binabalanse po ng ating national task force, ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases)", and 'yung NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group), sila po ang mag-aapruba nito," he added, also noting that vaccine confidence in the country has improved.

"Sa ngayon po, naging maganda po ang vaccine confidence na tumataas na. Kahit na noong umiikot ako, tinatanong ko sila noong unang panahon 10% lang po ang nagtataas ng kamay, ngayon po halos kalahati na po dahil nakikita nila na protektado sila sa bakuna, lalong-lalo na po ngayon na merong Delta variant na napakabilis ng transmission four times more contagious po ito," Go noted.

On September 1, Go has made its first appeal to the government to study the possibility of expanding the vaccination rollout to include the remaining members of the general public who are not presently eligible under the vaccination priority list.

As of September 5, the country administered a total of 35,838,964 doses. A total of 20,805,610 Filipinos have been given their first dose while 15,033,354 have been fully vaccinated. The daily vaccination rate stands at 277,995, as of September 5.

During the hearing Go presided, 25 bills were tackled in the committee level. Among these were the establishment of five hospitals, upgrading of 12 local hospitals and renationalization of 8 hospitals. The Committee also tackled bills on the regulation of traditional and alternative healthcare system.

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