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DILG chief confident vaccination dash can meet 9M target

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Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año is confident that the three-day national vaccination drive can still meet its target of 9 million doses, despite falling a bit short of the goal on the first day.

Some 2.55 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 were administered on Monday, the first of three “national vaccination days,” Año told reporters.

The government targeted 3 million vaccines on Day 1 to reach 9 million doses by Wednesday, in a bid to achieve “herd immunity” as many people have yet to show up for jabs.

“Malaki na ‘yun (2.55 million) kasi, nasanay tayo nang naabot lang natin ay 1 million, 1.5 million,” Año said.

“Hopefully malampasan pa natin kasi maga-adjust tayo dun sa mga naging kaunting problema nung first day. Ang gauge natin ‘yung araw na ‘to,” he added.

Año noted a “favorable” turnout of minors who had themselves inoculated and said more people are expected to show up as Wednesday is a national holiday.

National Police chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos, whose men are assigned to secure vaccination sites and take part as vaccinators as well, reported a “generally peaceful” Day 1 of inoculations.

The DILG chief, meanwhile, expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory, amid the threat of the coronavirus’ Omicron variant.

“Sa tingin ko hindi pa naman siguro niya ii-impose ‘yun, pero ang mga local government units, ‘yung mga local chief executives meron silang power sa local government code, puwede nilang gamitin ‘yan during calamities and pandemic. Susuportahan ko sila diyan sa kanilang authority of power na ‘yan.”

For now, Año said he continues to call on LGUs to encourage their residents to have themselves vaccinated.

But if he was to have his way, Año said he would also not allow unvaccinated persons to go out, unless they show negative results of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

“Ang sa akin lang, ang maganda talaga diyan syempre dapat i-encourage natin yung mga kababayan nating magpabakuna at ‘yung hindi nagpapabakuna, para sa kaligtasan nila, ‘wag na lang silang payagang pumunta sa mga lugar na hindi naman kinakailangan at dapat kung pupunta sila dun, i-require na rin na negative ang RT-PCR test result.”

Unvaccinated people who still would not subject themselves to tests can just ask vaccinated family members to do their errands, he added.

“Ang tanong kasi bakit ba ayaw nilang magpabakuna? Mahirap kasi na sagutin bakit ayaw nilang magpabakuna, kung anu-ano ‘yung naririnig nilang storya, eh mismong science ang nagsasabi na ang tanging panlaban natin sa virus ay bakuna. Kung magkasakit ba sila ipapagamot ba sila ng mga pinapakingan nila?

“Ito kasi ‘yung problema natin, na pagka maraming unvaccinated patuloy na magkaroon ng variants or mutation ‘yung virus tapos you are putting a lot of people in danger. Libre naman ‘yung bakuna, tapos in-accommodate na rin natin kahit hindi nakarehistro. May iba na may mga incentive pa nga, pagkain, raffle, ang dami nang incentive kaya sana i-avail na nila,” Año said.

 

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