MANILA – The country is well-prepared for the arrival of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Anti-vaxxers na lang problema: Galvez says PH prepared for arrival of COVID-19 vaccines

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MANILA – The country is well-prepared for the arrival of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

READ: ‘Di pwedeng siksikan: Galvez shares criteria for COVID-19 vaccination site

“Mayor, prepared po tayo. Kaya po natin makuha ang mga vaccines, including Pfizer at saka Moderna. Mayroon po tayong kakayahan po (Mayor, we are prepared. We can acquire vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna. We have the capacity to do so),” Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised meeting on Monday night.

READ: Walang tapon! Galvez: Nat’l gov’t coordinating with LGUs, private sector to avoid COVID-19 vaccine wastage

He said the Department of Health – Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) has already procured ultra-cold chain refrigerators that can store about one million vaccines with a temperature requirement of up to -70°C.

READ: Not once, but twice: Galvez says sorry to Ping over vaccine issue

In preparation for the deployment of the vaccines, Galvez said they have inspected possible cold chain storage facilities nationwide.

The government has partnered with local pharmaceutical firms for scaling up cold chain storage facilities.

Meanwhile, he cited the importance of an information drive to counter the misinformation posed by the “anti-vaxxers” on social media.

Anti-vaxxers refer to people who disagree with the use of vaccines for a variety of reasons.

“Ito po ang medyo may problema po tayo na talagang dapat po pagtulungan po natin. Alam po namin na malaki po ang maitutulong ng ating Mayor, Presidente, Mr. President, kasi po talagang bumababa po ‘yung willingness at saka ‘yung uptake ng ating mga kababayan dahil nga po sa mga tinatawag nating mga nakikitang mga adverse effect ng certain brands (This is a problem that we need to address together. We know that the President will be of great help because the willingness of our countrymen to get the vaccine is decreasing due to the adverse effects of certain brands),” Galvez said.

He noted that the presence of anti-vaxxers is one of the reasons why some Filipinos are hesitant.

“At the same time, malakas po yung social media ng mga anti-vaxxers. So ito po malaki pong hamon po ito (the anti-vaxxers have a strong social media presence. This is a huge challenge),” Galvez said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, he said, is also helping the government’s aggressive information dissemination campaign.

The DOH and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) have earlier launched the “Explain, Explain, Explain” campaign to relay all the updates on the Covid-19 vaccine deployment and the national inoculation plan.

The business sector is also assisting the government in convincing people to support the mass vaccination rollout, Galvez said.

“Nagawa na rin po natin ito noong during testing na — at saka during nang nagkaroon tayo ng Ingat Angat Para Sa Lahat na naging maganda po ‘yung tinatawag nating, ‘yung improvement sa minimum health standard (We have done this already during testing and when we launched our ‘Ingat Angat Para Sa Lahat’ program, which resulted in improvements in the minimum health standards),” he said.

On the other hand, Galvez said the government would procure vaccines that are already widely used in other countries. (PNA)

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POLITIKO / Across the Nation

POLITIKO / Latest News

May parusa ‘pag umayaw! AFP requires soldiers to be vaccinated vs COVID-19

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) inoculation is mandatory for all of its personnel but they have the option to choose among vaccine brands other than Sinovac at their own expense.

“Thus, to get inoculated or not is not an option for the members of the AFP, it is a duty. At the most, the exercise of an option will be the option to as to what brand of vaccine they will be availing of, but the cost of which will not be paid by the AFP,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in an online press briefing.

Malacañang earlier announced that the first batch of Sinovac Biotech vaccines composed of 600,000 doses donated by China is set to arrive on Sunday (Feb. 28), with 100,000 doses of which will be given to the Department of National Defense, the AFP’s mother agency.

Aside from military personnel, Arevalo added that their chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana has said that their dependents must be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, those opting for other vaccine brands who decided to forego their inoculation can do so but once they are called to duty to serve as front-liners, they will have no choice but to follow.

“They must perform their duties and task but they will have to resort to the traditional health protocol, mag-mask, mag-shield, maghugas ng kamay at mag-maintain ng social distance pansamantala habang hindi pa sila natuturukan ng vaccine na pinipili nila (like the wearing of mask, face shields, regularly washing their hands, and maintaining social distance while they are yet to be vaccinated with the brand of their choice),” Arevalo said.

Meanwhile, said AFP personnel assigned and performing duties that will expose them to Covid-19 patients are required to have themselves vaccinated with the available vaccines.

He added that the AFP will play three major roles in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine — security, medical and logistics support operations. (PNA)

Payag ba sa barter? Bello waiting for UK’s response to PH offer to deploy more healthcare workers

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is waiting for the response of the United Kingdom (UK) on its proposed provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine amid UK’s request for an exemption from the deployment cap of Filipino healthcare workers (HCWs).

In a telephone interview on Thursday, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they expect the UK government to respond on the issue within 10 days.

“I told them for me to be able to recommend it to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases), I have to be assured of the safety of our workers. The only way we can be assured about the safety of our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) is (through) the vaccine,” he said.

Bello said the UK may want to send the coronavirus vaccines so the country can immunize the nurses before they are deployed.

“For us to be able to send our medical workers, we want to ensure that they are safe and their health is secured. We don’t have the vaccine, if they want, they can send us (vaccine),” he added.

Bello said he did not provide specific quantities of the vaccines.

“Why not include all OFWs and not just HCWs. In case they are ready to give us the vaccines, I will give them the number of OFWs that will be vaccinated. I just want to be sure that those who will be deployed have received the vaccine,” he added.

The Philippine government is asking the UK and Germany to provide vaccines against Covid-19 for OFWs as part of the agreement in relation to the deployment of health service workers, particularly nurses.

The country has two bilateral agreements with the UK in 2002 and 2003.

The UK and Germany are seeking to be exempted from the 5,000 cap on the deployment of nurses being implemented by the government to ensure there is an adequate number of nurses in the country in case the need arises.

Meanwhile, Bello said he understands the reaction of the people on the issue.

“They thought I would barter our nurses with the vaccine. I just hope that before they accuse me, they should have asked me first and look at what really happened. They just criticized and what they are saying is not true,” he added. (PNA)



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