PCOO,PIA de-mystifies COVID vaccine to various localities via information roadshow

CALOOCAN CITY, Jan. 25 (PIA) -- The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on Friday brought the #ExplainExplainExplain information roadshow to various localities that clarified the national government's COVID-19 vaccination strategies and roadmap in order to gain clearer public understanding on the coronavirus vaccine.

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar personally led the information drive cum townhall meeting throughout Central Visayas with the 'PAGDU-AW sa Negros Oriental’ an event held at the Dumaguete Convention Center in Dumaguete City that brought together government experts, national and local government officials, and key stakeholders to answer pressing questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and help provide direction for communities. The event broadcast live through all official government media and social media channels.

“As we move forward this 2021, the government is set to roll out the National COVID-19 vaccination program by the 3rd or 4th week of February,” Andanar said.

He clarified that the government has a “menu of vaccines” under negotiations to be able to meet the targeted 70 million Filipinos to be immunized. With this, two million Filipinos are expected to be vaccinated already by April 2021.

“The government does not have any policy which favors a specific vaccine brand or country from which it originates. With our current negotiations, we have ensured that we will receive at least 137 million doses and this may expand to 172 million doses by next year,” he said.

The event, likewise, expressed support to local government units’ (LGUs) initiatives, and at the same time, advocate other government campaigns and programs such as the Department of Health’s (DOH) "BIDA Solusyon Campaign" and the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) "Listahanan."

"This is the third leg of our regional roadshow for Explain, Explain, Explain for Region 7, one of the priority areas of President Rodrigo Duterte the Vaccine Czar Secretary [Carlito] Galvez, and Senate Committee on Health Chair Senator Bong Go para sa COVID-19 vaccination," PIA Director-General Ramon L. Cualoping III said, for his part.

"Our role in the Philippine Information Agency is to help increase the acceptance level sa vaccines, sa public uptake, dahil may research ang UP Octa na nasa 24 percent lang ang acceptance level for COVID-19 vaccines," he added. The UP Octa is a team of independent and interdisciplinary research group composed primarily of University of the Philippines faculty members and alumni.

Cualoping said it's the government's goal to achieve "herd immunity" of when a sufficient number of people in the community is immune to an infectious disease such as COVID-19, adding the valuable role of mass vaccination as it also protects others who have not been vaccinated, including those with very weak immune systems.

"In the next few weeks, or in the next few months, we will join the DOH in helping the people understand the benefits of the vaccines. Our main goal here is to have herd immunity, and we wouldn’t be able achieve this if we only vaccinated less than 70 percent of the population," he said.

"But we have to make it clear that having the vaccine is not a 100 percent solution to prevent COVID-19, or that we won’t get infected. The vaccine, however, would help tame the virus," he added.

"If initially you have a high risk or you are pre-disposed to be admitted to the ICU [intensive care unit], to be intubated, or have a severe infection, if you have the vaccine, you gain higher resistance against the virus," Cualoping furthered.

Joining them in the event were Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Assistant Secretary Jonji S. Gonzales, DSWD Director Irene B. Dumlao, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, DOH-7 Regional Director Dr. Jaime S. Bernadas and DOH-7 Chief Pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola and DOH Director Dr. Beverly Lorraine C. Ho also joined them virtually. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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