PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos anew to get vaccinated or just stay at home, noting that their choice matters in surviving the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Duterte said the worst is yet to come, as a more contagious Covid-19 variant starts to spread worldwide.
"We do not have a guarantee that the vaccines should be forthcoming on time, na walang maraming mamamatay (not many will die). And if it is more serious mutant, variant, we'll just have to prepare for the worst," he said in a public address aired on Tuesday, May 18.
"We cannot force you, kung ayaw ninyo (magpabakuna), huwag kayo lumabas ng bahay. 'Pag lumabas kayo, mahahawa ninyo ang ibang tao... Pag hindi ka na makahinga, dalhin ka sa ospital, walang makalapit sa pasyente, doctor lang, nakabalot pa to avoid being infected. Pag namatay kayo, derecho kayo sa morgue. Di mo mahalikan, marealize mo ang sakit,” he added.
(We cannot force you if you do not want to get vaccinated. Don’t go out of your homes, because if you go out, you will infect other people. If you can no longer breathe, you will be brought to a hospital and no one can get near you except the doctor, who is even wearing a protective suit. If you will die, you will be brought directly to the morgue. You cannot even kiss the person; then you will realize the impact of Covid-19.)
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that 12 overseas Filipino workers have tested positive for the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant, which was first detected in India and is now causing deadly resurgence there.
Duterte said fearing the effects of Covid-19 vaccine has “no basis,” as no one died from getting inoculated.
Earlier, the DOH said that based on its survey conducted from March 19 to 30, the public’s Covid-19 vaccine confidence has increased.
The DOH noted that 75 percent of the respondents expressed willingness to get vaccinated, while 85.5 percent believed that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and efficacious.
In a separate survey conducted among 2,400 Filipino adults by the Pulse Asia from February 22 to March 3, 2021, 61 percent refused to get vaccinated, 16 percent said they will avail themselves of it, while the 23 percent said they are yet to decide.
About 84 percent of those who refused to get inoculated said it was because they are not sure of its safety.
As of May 18, 3,114,847 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered. Of the number, 751,295 Filipinos were already fully vaccinated, while 2,363,552 have received their first dose.
Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez said in order to get the herd immunity by the fourth quarter of 2021, 50 to 70 million Filipinos should be vaccinated.
A total of 7,779,050 doses of vaccines have arrived in the country since February.
Duterte also reiterated that Filipinos, regardless of their social status, are not allowed to choose what Covid-19 vaccine they will get.
"Ayaw kong magkaroon ng estorya na may pinapapaboran kami na ito, ito. Wala. Maski saang subdivision ka na mayaman o anong lugar dito sa North Harbor, pareho kayo lahat. Hindi ako papayag na magpili-pili," he said.
(I don’t want to hear reports that we are favoring this and that. No. Even if you’re a resident of a posh subdivision, or any place in North Harbor, you are equal. I will not allow you to choose.)
Meanwhile, Duterte ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government to supervise the transportation and ensure the proper handling of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Wala akong problema na diretso sa mga local governments (ang bakuna). Ang problema ko is ‘yung handling... time of the essence, from the handling to the transfer,” he said after Galvez said that Pfizer vaccines for Cebu and Davao will no longer pass through Manila.
“I would insist that the DILG will be part of the supervisory team kasi gusto ko malaman ni (Interior) Secretary (Eduardo) Año if everything is done according to what has been planned,” he added.
Earlier, the DOH said it is conducting a probe into the reported wastage of 348 vials of Sinovac vaccines in Cotabato after its freezer container was left without power. (SunStar Philippines)