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Thursday, May 28, 2021

President Duterte could help address vaccine hesitancy, says vaccine czar

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said he believes President Rodrigo Duterte could encourage people especially senior citizens to take COVID-19 vaccine at a time that the government is struggling to convince Filipinos to have the shot.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on May 26, 2021. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

During a meeting with President Duterte on Wednesday, Galvez said they are encouraging the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units (LGUs) to work double time to increase people’s vaccine confidence as well as public uptake.

“At malaki po ang magiging ano po kung talaga pong ia-announce po natin, Mr. President, na ‘yong mga senior citizens dapat po talaga magkaroon po talaga ng vaccine kasi sa ngayon po 11 percent pa lang po ang nagpapa-vaccine na mga senior citizens,” he said, adding more than 60 percent of the casualty figure belongs to older population.

“So kami po nag-aano po kami ni Secretary Duque na kasi po kayo po ang pinakikinggan ng ating mga ano po na kayo po nakapagbakuna na po ng --- sa para maging protektado po tayo,” he noted.

“At ‘yon po tinitingnan po namin na talagang dapat po mahikayat po natin ‘yong ating  mga senior citizens at saka mga people with comorbidities na magkaroon po talaga ng lakas na magkaroon talaga ng bakuna.”

Some LGUs are having a hard time convincing people to get the shot, particularly those from D and E economic groups, Galvez reported.  There is higher vaccine uptake, however, for groups A, B and C.

“Sa mga kalooblooban ng mga congested area doon po tayo nahihirapan ng mga tinatawag natin na ‘yong more or less 40 percent or sa 40 percent parang ayaw pong magpabakuna,” he said.

To address vaccine hesitancy, Galvez said they are conducting town hall meetings with Department of Health (DOH) with the help of the private sector.

Meanwhile, the vaccine czar reported new schedule of deliveries for the second quarter.

He told the President that vaccines that are supposed to be delivered this May would arrive next month.

These include jabs from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, which is expected to deliver 1.3 million doses. The Russian vaccine manufacturer will send smaller volume, just 300,000 doses, Galvez said.

The shipment from Pfizer was also moved from May to June 7 to 11, according to Galvez.

The government will likely receive vaccines from AstraZeneca both from the global COVAX program as well as the 1.3 million doses ordered by the private sector.

“Moderna po more or less mga May --- June 21 po darating. At ang Sinovac ay more or less mga June 6 darating ang 1 million, pero mayroon po tayong inaasahan na 4.5 million doses for June, with a total of 12,250,000 na doses for June,” Galvez reported.

“So ito po ang inaano po namin na most likely kung sana po may awa ang Diyos na makuha po natin ‘yong 12 million this coming June.”  PND