Senators express dismay over Roque’s vaccine remark

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 13, 2021   •   152

MANILA, Philippines — Several Senators have expressed dismay over Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s remark on why Filipinos should not be picky with the COVID-19 vaccine brand they will receive.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, in a statement, said it is not fair for Filipinos to not be able to choose their vaccines made available by the government. Lacson added he would not pick a vaccine with 50% against other brands with 79% efficacy.

“Instead of building people’s confidence by starting with a higher efficacy vaccine and accomplish its intended purpose, to tell them they can’t be choosy is definitely not a smart information campaign to promote mass inoculation,” he said.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan also said the Palace should stop with the remarks since it can only lessen the trust of Filipinos on vaccines

Itong mga bitiw na salita ng spokesperson tungkol sa bakuna sa totoo lang ay nakakadagdag sa kawalan ng tiwala sa bakuna ng taumbayan. Hindi nakakatulong (The spokesperson’s words about the vaccine only adds to the distrust on vaccines. It is not helping),” Pangilinan said.

In a press briefing on Monday (January 11), Roque said the public should not be ‘choosy’ with the COVID-19 vaccines they would receive from the government.

Totoo po, mayroon tayong lahat na karapatan para sa mabuting kalusugan pero hindi naman po pwede na pihikan dahil napakaraming Pilipino na dapat turukan (It is true that we have the right for better health but we cannot be picky because a lot of Filipinos need to be vaccinated),” Roque said.

Senator Grace Poe reiterated that it is the Filipinos’ right to choose which vaccine brand they want to receive.

“The Filipino people have every right to choose which vaccine to take, it is their money the government is spending to procure the precious doses,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 testing Czar Vince Dizon said the government is not favoring a specific country for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

Wala po tayong policy na pinapaboran ang isang vaccine o isang bansa. Lahat po ng vaccines na safe and effective ay ipu-pursue ng national government, vaccine czar, at vaccine cluster (There is no policy that favors a vaccine or country. All safe and effective vaccines are being pusued by the national government, vaccine czar, and vaccine cluster),” he said. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)


Kalibo Airport on lockdown until Jan. 21

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines The Kalibo International Airport is currently under a three-day lockdown after several of its personnel tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The airport is on lockdown from January 19 to 21 to give way to disinfection after 11 employees were confirmed to have contracted the viral respiratory disease last week.

The lockdown includes offices outside the passenger terminal building but within the airport complex, particularly the Administrative Office of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Aerodome Rescue Fire Fighting station, and the Philippine Airlines ticketing office.

Airport operations will resume on Friday, January 22.

400K OFWs sent home during pandemic — DOLE

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Over 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been sent home since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

As of January 16, the Labor Department records a total of 410,211 repatriates who have undergone quarantine and were cleared of COVID-19.

“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation, and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

The latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week.

An estimate of 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs are expected to be repatriated this year, according to reports from the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices of DOLE. AAC

Galvez assures vaccine facility in Laguna can house 5M doses at a time

Marje Pelayo   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday (January 20) spearheaded the site visit to a vaccine storage facility in Biñan, Laguna

The facility can house up to 5-million doses of COVID-19 vaccines at a time, Galvez said.

“Ito iyong tinatawag natin na main storage. Ito ang tinatawag nating central hub storage na later on kapag magkakaroon tayo ng designated vaccination in different areas, doon natin ita-timing ang shipment from here,” he said.

The facility is designed for vaccines that require a minimum of 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius in temperature which means about 30% to 50% of each shipment of vaccines can be laid in the facility.

It is a facility owned by Unilab.

The pharmaceutical firm said it allowed the use of its cold storage in support of the government’s COVID-19 response though it never ventured in any facility rental business.

As for the agreement, the government has yet to discuss with Unilab the terms and conditions for the usage of the said facility.

The national government targets to procure up to 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate about 50% to 70% of the country’s population. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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