BATANGAS CITY CAPITOL COMPOUND (25 NOVEMBER 2021)— Senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities in this province have started to receive COVID-19 booster shots in line with the national government goal to fully vaccinate all medical frontliners, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals by the end of 2021.
According to Health Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Chair Francisco Duque III, senior citizens face a higher risk of being infected with COVID-19, thus the urgency to give them booster doses.
“Nakakalungkot po kasi otsenta, nobenta porsyento ng pumapanaw (dahil sa COVID-19) ay mga senior citizen. Kaya kailangan po talagang maprotektahan ang ating mga senior citizen,” Duque said during a ceremonial vaccination held here on Thursday.
The IATF chair also emphasized that all COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe infections, hospitalization and death.
“Ibig ko rin bigyang diin na ang ating mga bakuna. hangga’t sa maari, ‘wag po tayo mamimili. Mayroon tayong ‘no vaccine preference policy.’ Lahat po ng ibabakuna sa inyo, makakasiguro po tayo na ito ay tunay na ligtas at epektibo at libre,” he said.
Vaccines save lives
Batangas is among the provinces which have posted high vaccination rates, having already inoculated 1.4 million of its residents with the first dose, or 68% of its target population.
For Batangas Governor Hermilando ‘Dodo’ Mandanas, the provincial government’s continuous vaccination rollout has been instrumental in curbing the rise of COVID-19 cases in the previous weeks.
“Less than 1,000 na ang new cases sa Pilipinas. Dati aabot ng 30,000, kaya ‘yan ang kahalagahan nitong (pagbabakuna) at kahalagahan ng booster,” Mandanas said.
Secretary Vivencio Dizon, testing czar and National Task Force against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer, agreed with Mandanas, noting that vaccine hesitancy can be addressed by highlighting the testimonials of those who have been inoculated.
“Ang permanent solution sa COVID-19 ay bakuna. Tingnan niyo po ang ating mga healthcare worker, ang ating mga lolo at lola na babakunahan ngayon. Pangatlong bakuna na nila ito. Safe naman sila, wala namang side effect,” Dizon said.
“Wag na kayong matakot. Mas matakot kayo sa COVID kasi traydor ito,” he added.
LGUs at the frontlines
For his part, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., vaccine czar and National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer, acknowledged the crucial role of local government units in ensuring the success of the vaccination program against COVID-19.
“Nasa kamay po ng LGU ang paglunas dito sa pandemya na ating hinaharap. Kami po sa national government, we are ready and willing to support you,” Galvez said.
The vaccine czar also noted the importance of scaling up the vaccination output of Batangas and the rest of Southern Luzon, which is adjacent to Metro Manila.
“Hindi po masesecure ang ating National Capital Region kung hindi po mababakunahan ang CALABARZON at Region 3,” Galvez said.
He likewise stressed the importance of mandating the vaccination of economic workers, especially those reporting onsite.
“Dati hindi natin ma-mandato kasi wala tayong supply. Ngayon, maganda na ang supply natin, at saka gusto nating protektahan ‘yung karamihan,” Galvez said.
As of November 25, a total of 78,528,357 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide.
Of this number, 43,870,322 Filipinos have received the first dose, while 34,555,933 individuals are now fully vaccinated. END