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Get jabs done, Ping urges gov’t

/ 05:40 AM June 11, 2021

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. Senate PRIB / FILE

MANILA, Philippines — “Our people must get the jab done, but our government must get the job done.”

This was how Sen. Panfilo Lacson urged the government to step up the national immunization program after Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who is in charge of the inoculations against COVID-19, for delayed deliveries of vaccines within Metro Manila.

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But Galvez said that inoculations in Metro Manila would resume upon the arrival of more vaccines.

“The best way out of this pandemic is for our people to ‘get the jab done’ and our government to ‘get the job done,’” he said on his Twitter account on Thursday.

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Lacson said the government should continue to find ways to improve the implementation of the vaccination program, while the people should trust that vaccines can protect them.

He reiterated as well his support for using all legal and creative means to have all Filipinos vaccinated, saying these are good moves to attain herd immunity soonest.

But Lacson also questioned the seeming delay in the implementation of a vaccine passport program that would potentially facilitate domestic and international travel.

“Still just a plan? Late again,” he said. On June 3, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the Philippine government would be issuing COVID-19 “vaccine passports” for Filipinos traveling abroad.

Vaccine passports

“We are going to create vaccine passports for international sea and air travel,” Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic said during a virtual town hall meeting organized by the Department of Health (DOH).But Caintic could not give details as these were still being discussed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Earlier, Lacson called on the government to be more open and less restrictive in working with the private sector and local governments in procuring vaccines—and to be transparent and exercise restraint in spending our resources that are already severely limited due to the pandemic.

On the other hand, Lacson said the public must learn to trust the vaccination process and help achieve herd immunity early, so the economy can recover.

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The government rolled out its mass immunization drive against COVID-19 in March and has administered about 6 million doses.3.2M vaccines expected

In apologizing for the delayed deliveries, Galvez assured Filipinos that some 3.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were expected to arrive on June 10, 1 million of which will be CoronaVac jabs from China’s Sinovac BioTech and intended for the A4 priority group of the government’s vaccination program.

Meanwhile, 2.2 million will be US-made Pfizer vaccines from COVAX facility, Galvez said.

Areas in the country that have increasing coronavirus infections would get additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Malacañang assured them on Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. also said the areas where the vaccination had been halted due to a lack of supply would get additional doses as more have been delivered and would be delivered this month. INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus vaccines, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Panfilo Lacson
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