MANILA – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Saturday expressed hope that the arrival of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines from the COVAX Facility on March 1 will boost the morale of medical front-liners as they will have more vaccines to choose from, being at the top of the priority list of the government's inoculation drive.
“Another good news. Ang hinihintay natin, ang bakuna mula sa COVAX, darating na sa Lunes. Magkakaroon na po ng pagpipilian dahil ito pong darating sa Lunes ay galing sa AstraZeneca (The vaccine from COVAX that we are waiting for will arrive on Monday. We will have a choice now because this Monday, the vaccines from AstraZeneca will arrive),” Go, also chair of the Senate Committee on Health, said during a radio interview. “Nagkausap kami ni Secretary (Carlito) Galvez. Ang darating po ay 525,600 mula sa AstraZeneca. Ito ay mula sa (I spoke with Secretary Galvez. Some 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccine doses will arrive. These are from the) COVAX Facility,” he added.
The AstraZeneca vaccines will be delivered a day after doses of Sinovac vaccines arrive in the country.
“Sasalubong kami sa Lunes ni Pangulo sa arrival ng (President Rodrigo Duterte and I will welcome the arrival of the vaccines from) AstraZeneca at 12:50 p.m.,” Go said.
“With that, mas magiging maganda po ang ating outlook, lalo na binabalanse ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya and, of course, ang importante ay kabuhayan po at kaligtasan ng bawat Pilipino, kalusugan at buhay ng bawat Pilipino (we will have a better outlook, especially now that we are balancing economic recovery as well as the livelihood and safety of every Filipino, the health and life of every Filipino),” he added.
Go said that he was able to seek the help of British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce last Wednesday who assured the Senator that he will assist in expediting the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines to the country from the United Kingdom.
“Nakausap ko po si Ambassador Daniel Pruce, at nag-assure naman siya na tutulong siya na mapabilis. And, finally po, darating na rin po sa Lunes (I already talked to Ambassador Daniel Pruce and he assured that he will help in hastening the delivery. And finally, it will arrive on Monday),” Go said.
“So, ngayon ang importante rito may mapagpipilian na po ang ating mga front-liners, ‘yung mga priorities na babakunahan. Dahil ‘yung iba takot sila na wala kaming pagpipilian kung Sinovac lang. Now, mayro’n nang (Now, what is important is our front-liners have a choice because they are among the priority list. The others are scared because we have no choice other Sinovac. But now, we have) AstraZeneca,” he added.
Go also shared that he and President Rodrigo Duterte will definitely be vaccinated in public to encourage more Filipinos to get inoculated as well and build their confidence in Covid-19 vaccines.
“‘Di na po kwestyon kung magpapabakuna kami. Willing kami ipakita sa publiko na ito po ay safe at epektibo at ito lang ang susi na makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay (There is no question as to whether we will get vaccinated. We are willing to show the public that these are safe and effective and this is the only key to going back to out normal lives),” Go said.
“‘Di naman po perfect ang bakuna kaya may sinasabi na 90 percent, 50 percent (ang efficacy rate) pero wala na tayong (ibang) solusyon, bakuna lang po (There are no perfect vaccines, that is why they say it has a 90 percent or 50 percent efficacy rate.. We have no other solution other vaccines),” he added.
Go said Duterte’s physician will decide which vaccine will be given to the President that is suitable for his age and state of health.
“Si Pangulo naman, ang doktor n’ya ang magde-decide kung ano pong vaccine ang gagamitin at pinagpipilian na ng doktor kung ano po ang suitable sa kanyang edad at kalusugan (The President's doctor will decide what vaccine can be used for him and they are now deciding on what is suitable for his age and health),” Go said.
Go also mentioned that members of the media will be on the priority list of the government’s national COVID-19 vaccination program without prejudice to other sectors already identified as priorities, such as front-liners as well as poor and vulnerable sectors.
“Priority rin po ang media, dahil kayo ang nagbibigay ng balita, front-liner po ang media (Media personnel are included in the priority list, because you are the one giving the news. Media personnel are considered front-liners),” he said.
“Kaya nga nakausap ko si Secretary Galvez, sabi n’ya next to front-liner din ang media. Sabi ko, halos lahat po ng ikot natin, ‘pag nag-iinspect tayo (ng) lugar, simulation, nandyan ang media at nagko-cover. Sila po ang nag-iinform sa publiko. Napaka-importante po ng papel ninyo sa (When I spoke with Secretary Galvez, he told me that next to front-liners are the media. I told him that in all of our events, inspections, simulations, the media is there to cover. They are the ones informing the public. Your role is important in our) information campaign,” he added.
As for the Sinovac vaccines which will arrive on Sunday, Go said in another interview that Duterte will receive the vaccines in a short program and symbolic turnover ceremony. A press conference will also be held.
“Bukas, upon arrival, ay tatanggapin ito ng mahal na Pangulo. Merong short program at symbolic turnover. Magkakaroon ng presscon at magpapasalamat siya (Tomorrow, upon arrival, these will be accepted by our beloved President. There would be a short program and symbolic turnover. There would be a press conference and he will express his gratitude),” Go said.
“Ito (vaccine) po ‘yung napagkasunduan nina Pangulong Duterte at President Xi Jinping na siyang inihatid na balita ni (This was what was agreed upon by President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping as announced by) Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi,” he added.
Go also said that the Sinovac vaccines are “a testament to the friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and China during these difficult times.”
He also commended Team Philippines, led by Secretary Galvez and other officials, for working very hard to secure the delivery of subsequent batches of vaccines.
“We want this done soon. We thank China for the timely assistance and recognize the hard work made by Team Philippines,” Go said.
The delivery of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines is just the start of the country’s vaccination program, says Go. “We need to do more. We need to accelerate the vaccination program in a safe, sure, and secure manner,” he continued.
“I know Team Philippines is working very, very hard. And we look forward to receiving positive developments on vaccine procurement and delivery,” he added.
Go said that the arrival of vaccines from various countries is also a testament to the Philippines’ strong diplomatic relations with other countries and multilateral organizations.
“These are partnerships that work because of our independent foreign policy. Team Philippines has always worked on a rational mix of vaccines to ensure not only choices but also safest vaccine rollout,” he stressed.
“What’s important is we all work together as one Team Philippines - executive, legislative and judiciary- with all sectors of our society. We work with all our partners in the international community,” Go urged.
“With cooperation, we can get this done,” he said. (PR)