Metro Manila– Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is urging Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to take the first shots once coronavirus vaccines become available in the country.
In an online media briefing on Saturday, Go cited public apprehension about getting inoculated due to safety concerns. A Social Weather Stations survey in November showed that only 66% of Filipinos are willing to be vaccinated.
“I’m challenging Sec. Galvez, once available na po yung safe na vaccine, ay papakita niya, along with Sec. Duque, sila po ang unang magpapaturok ng vaccine once safe para to encourage naman po,” Go said.
[Translation: I’m challenging Sec. Galvez, once a safe vaccine becomes available, he along with Sec. Duque, should be the first to be injected the vaccine to encourage the people.]
The Philippines is ready to spend more than ₱73 billion to vaccinate 60 million Filipinos, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said in the same briefing. The bulk of this is expected to come from loans from multilateral agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the rest from domestic and bilateral sources, he said.
The country has so far secured 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine through the help of private sector donations.
The government is giving priority to medical frontliners, workers from government agencies, poor families, and vulnerable sectors. Galvez earlier said that once these groups have been inoculated, the vaccination program will shift to protect thousands of police and military personnel — as President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly said in recent public pronouncements.
He added that camps of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines can be used as vaccination hubs where the public can receive their doses.