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COVID-19 WATCH

Prioritize media in vaccine rollout — Andanar

Media people are exposed daily to the virus considering that they are out doing their jobs.

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Media workers should be among those to be prioritized in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine once it is available.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar stressed this in a virtual radio interview Wednesday, pointing out that they serve as frontliners in the fight against the pandemic.

“Media people are exposed daily to the virus considering that they are out doing their jobs. No matter what happens, the media is always there reporting the news every day, and the people need the media to tell them what to do,” he said.

As previously announced, the first batch of vaccines is expected to arrive in the Philippines in the third or fourth week of February. The government will prioritize the medical and government frontliners, poor families, and the vulnerable sectors for the vaccine.

According to a survey conducted by Pulse Asia, 47 percent of Filipinos are apprehensive of bring inoculated due to safety concerns. That is why the government is already addressing this through information drives.

Andanar said it is a challenge for the government to reverse the sentiments of Filipinos on the safety of the vaccines.

“We really have to convert those 47 percent because as what the President said, we really need to vaccinate the people so that we can have a society, where we can dream again and can compete with other economies,” he said, as he noted that this will also usher the recovery of the economy by allowing pre-Covid-19 programs and projects to push through.

The PCOO, together with the Philippine Information Agency, recently launched the Explain, Explain, Explain Town Hall Meeting, informing local government units and the public about the processes undertaken by the government to implement its National Covid-19 Vaccine Roadmap.

“All the agencies of the government are our partners in disseminating news about the vaccine. We have to inform the people about the stages of the plan presented by Secretary Galvez Jr., because we don’t just go out there and buy the vaccine,” he said.

“This vaccination program is the largest vaccination program that the government will undertake, not only in the Philippines, but in the entire world,” he added.

He also bared to volunteer to be one of the first in line for the vaccination along with other government executive heads to allay any fears associated with its safety.

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