Pres. Duterte: Vaccines are safe, key to reopen society

By Susan G. De Leon

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in the country Thursday night, March 4, 2021 at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. (Screengrab)

CALOOCAN CITY, March 5 (PIA) — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday evening again encouraged the Filipinos to take advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated, and emphasized that the vaccines are “safe” and “key” to achieving normalcy in the Philippines.

“These vaccines are safe and they are the key to reopening our society,” the President said, when he personally received the 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City. COVAX is a World Health Organization-led global mechanism designed to guarantee fast, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.

While vaccine supplies are limited, the government has approved to prioritize healthcare workers at high risk of exposure. Likewise, It has also been recommended by health experts to inoculate older people, including those aged 65 or older, or persons with comorbidities that have been identified as increasing the risk of severe COVID-19, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes.

Duterte also renewed his appeal to the public to get inoculated “immediately” as this would help curb the COVID-19 trajectory.

“I would like to appeal to all our kababayans: Please get vaccinated against COVID-19 and be the government partner in preventing further spread of the disease,” he said, as the government moves to speed up the implementation of a massive vaccine rollout in a bid to cover the vaccine doses for an initial 70 million Filipinos.

“I encourage you to get vaccinated at the soonest possible time,” he added, telling them that their cooperation to be vaccinated is the key to reopening the economy.

Duterte then thanked the donor countries for contributing the important life-saving jabs despite the current global supply shortage.

“I don’t know how to express my gratitude to the donor countries. That you remember the poor nations is in fact a plus for humanity,” he said.

“And on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines and of the people, I’d like to say again that we felt the gratitude in our hearts and may God bless you for your benevolence. Thank you,” he added.

On Sunday, Duterte also led the event that welcomed the arrival of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine donated by China.

By Monday, the Philippines began its unprecedented massive vaccination rollout, initally targeting an estimated 300,000 healthcare and frontline workers across the country.

To recall, AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company with its headquarters in Cambridge, England. (PIA NCR)