CEBU

Opav urges 'influencers' to boost Covid vaccination campaign in the Visayas

Contributed photo

THE Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) has enjoined social media influencers to join the government’s massive campaign to increase the Covid-19 vaccination confidence among Filipinos.

During his online show “Sikwatea,” Opav Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard "Jonji" Gonzales underscored the influence of social media personalities, which can be put to good use in increasing awareness about the benefits of getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

Transgender beauty queen Jess Labares expressed her commitment to help the government in this advocacy. Labares was among the Top 6 finalist and won the Miss Photogenic award during the Miss International Queen pageant held in Thailand last year.

“I really do believe in this vaccination push and the vaccine brands that our government is procuring. We have to trust the process. We have to trust our government,” Labares said, speaking as guest during the Sikwatea show.

Being a trailblazer in the LGBTQIA+ community for being the first transwoman flight attendant of local airline Cebu Pacific, Labares expressed that she wants to use their voice and influence in advance this advocacy.

“I’d be willing to get vaccinated. I want to become an example to ease the hesitation of other people in getting a vaccine or not. This is really important because this will help us become immune to this virus,” said Labares, a physical therapy graduate of the Cebu Doctors University.

Gonzales said social media influencers can greatly help in minimizing the disinformation going around about Covid-19 vaccines.

“We need to boost this advocacy to encourage the Visayan community and the Cebuano community to believe in vaccination because this is a crucial step taken by our government as we gradually reopen our economy,” he said.

Labares assured that she’s more than willing to join the movement of both public and private sectors in urging more people to join the mass vaccination once the initial supplies of Covid-19 vaccines arrive in the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, have been calling on Filipinos to be vaccinated when the vaccines become available.

The president has stressed that he will only place the entire country under the modified general community quarantine status once the vaccination of 70 percent of Filipinos will be accomplished.

Duterte recently signed the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which gives indemnity to vaccine-makers if their Covid-19 shots cause adverse side effects.

Pharmaceutical companies have asked for a legal indemnity as a protection from being sued over any problem resulting from their vaccines before agreeing to sell their vaccines to countries.

The newly signed law would help fast-track the purchase of Covid vaccines.

It also calls for the creation of a P500-million indemnity fund to cover compensation for potential serious adverse effects stemming from the doses' emergency use.

The Philippines was scheduled to accept delivery of 600,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech's vaccines, donated by China, on Sunday, allowing the country to start inoculating healthcare workers and soldiers.

Go disclosed that the 525,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility are set to arrive in the country on March 1.

On the other hand, 117,000 Pfizer Covid vaccines will be delivered in the first week of March.

The Philippines is negotiating supply agreements with several manufacturers for a total of 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, so it can inoculate 70 million Filipinos, or two-thirds of its more than 108 million population. (PR)


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