MANILA, Nov 24 (Mabuhay) — The government will not require all Filipinos to be inoculated with a potential coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine once it arrives in the country, Malacañang said Monday.
In a press briefing via Zoom, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said nobody will be forced into getting Covid-19 vaccine shots because the Department of Health (DOH) said the country will only need 50 to 60 percent of the population to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Citing results of a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, Roque said 66 percent of Filipinos are willing to get the Covid-19 vaccine once available in the market.
“Sa ngayon po eh sang-ayon po sa isang survey ng SWS, 66 percent naman po ng ating mga kababayan ay payag magpabakuna. Ang sabi naman po ng DOH, ang kinakailangan nating bakunahan ay 50 percent ng populasyon para magkaroon na tayo ng herd [immunity]. So kung talagang ayaw magpabakuna, hayaan na po muna natin sila (As of now, the SWS survey shows that 66 percent of our citizens are willing to get vaccinated. The DOH said we need to vaccinate 50 percent of the population to have herd immunity. So if they don’t want to get vaccinated, we won’t force them),” he said.
Last Friday, Roque said the Palace was pleased with the result of the survey because it shows that many people trust the government.
“We view this as a positive development as this means that more Filipinos trust the current government’s vaccination program,” he said.
However, he also said the Palace is hoping that the rest of the country would change their mind and opt to get the vaccine against Covid-19.
“We, however, hope there will be a significant increase in the number of Filipinos willing to get the Covid-19 vaccine as President Duterte wants all Filipinos to get vaccines, with priority given to the poor, indigents and other vulnerable sectors,” he said.
Based on the SWS survey, 32 percent of Filipinos said they “definitely would get the vaccine” while 34 percent said they “probably would get the vaccine.”
On the other hand, 31 percent are not willing to get the vaccine; 14 percent of which said they would probably not get it, and 17 percent remain unsure.
‘Ten steps ahead’
Roque, meanwhile, thanked Vice President Leni Robredo for her suggestion to lay out the details of the distribution of upcoming Covid-19 vaccines to prevent delays but noted that President Rodrigo Duterte had been “ten steps ahead” of her.
“Maraming salamat po sa suhestiyon pero as usual nagawa na po ng gobyerno iyan kasi may listahan na tayo ng 4Ps, may listahan na tayo ng kapulisan, may listahan na tayo ng kasundaluhan at iyong mga front-liners eh alam naman po ng DOH kung sino sila. So thank you po pero as usual, mayroon na po tayong listahan (Thank you for your suggestion but as usual, the government has already done that because we already have a list of 4Ps, a list of the police force, a list of soldiers, and the front-liners, the DOH knows who they are. So thank you but as usual, we had the list) even before your suggestion,” he said.
Earlier, Roque said an estimated PHP20 billion will be spent to inoculate the priority population which includes the poorest of the poor, police, military, and health front-liners.
He also assured that potential Covid-19 vaccines would be affordable to many Filipinos even if the national government could not provide free immunization to all Filipinos.
Last week, Roque announced that the President has finally agreed to make advance payments to potential suppliers of Covid-19 vaccines despite initially opposing it.
Duterte also approved various modes of financing for vaccines including private-public tripartite agreements without cost to government and the emergency use authorization to be issued to the Food and Drug Administration via proposed executive order, he added. (MNS)