PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday, January 20, 2022, that the National Government should further make coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing and vaccination more accessible to the public amid the implementation of restrictions against unvaccinated individuals.

While Robredo commended the government’s move to open vaccination sites in pharmacies and clinics, she said Covid-19 testing and vaccination hubs should also be established in barangays, transportation terminals, and train stations.

“Kasi, these are where the people conglomerate and wala nang necessity for them to miswork,” she said in a television interview.

"’Yung experience namin, the more accessible swabbing and vaccination is, mas marami talagang na-eenganyo to submit themselves sa vaccination, to submit themselves sa swabbing...Making the vaccinations available in pharmacies, this is a very good move, but something that we could have done many months ago to make it more accessible," she added.

She said this should have been done before the government implemented the “no vaccination, no ride/ entry” policy in all public transportations, particularly in Metro Manila.

Robredo said the government should also continue giving incentives to people who will get inoculated against Covid-19.

"This conversation cannot even be considered until after government already exhausted all possible means to bring vaccines to the people," she said.

"As I have said, we have had many vaccine express initiatives where we saw how incentivizing people is very, very favorable insofar as convincing them to have themselves vaccinated," she added.

She said during their vaccination drive in a community of indigenous people in Capas, Tarlac, many Aetas got themselves vaccinated.

They gave them vitamins and grocery packs in exchange for getting inoculated.

“A lot of people were telling us, we are talking here of the locals. Sinasabi nila na konti ’yung nagpapabakuna, baka dalhin niyo na lang sa iba kasi marami dito na mga Aetas ang ayaw,” said Robredo.

"Pero you know when we brought the vaccination there, marami kaming mga incentives na dala, meron kaming mga vitamins, meron kaming mga grocery packs, meron kaming food. Alam mo, dagsa. Kinulang pa kami ng bakuna that we had to return,” she added.

In January, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) relaunched its free mobile antigen testing service Swab Cab following the spike of Covid-19 cases.

The OVP also boosted its free teleconsultation service Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which was first implemented in April 2021, where they also send Covid-19 care kits to Covid-19 patients under home quarantine.

Robredo’s office is also doing a drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination drive.

As of January 11, a total of 213,655,520 Covid-19 vaccine doses have arrived in the country, of which 121,493,405 have been administered as of January 19.

A total of 56,444,406 completed their vaccination with 59,435,874 receiving the first dose, and 5,613,125 individuals got booster doses.

Amid the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, the Department of Transportation has implemented a policy barring unvaccinated individuals from riding or entering public transportation for see, land and air travel. (SunStar Philippines)