BOAC, Marinduque (PIA) — Marinduque Representative and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has urged eligible Filipinos who remain unvaccinated to get a jab during the national COVID-19 vaccination drives set on Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 and on Dec. 15 to 17, to help prevent another pandemic surge as families brace for holiday gatherings.
Velasco also said that concerns over the possible impact of the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron should prompt unvaccinated Filipinos to get their shots.
“We call on vaccine-eligible Filipinos who have not had a first dose to come forward and get one, so they can protect themselves and their families against the deadly coronavirus, especially with the emergence of a new variant that adds new peril to the holiday season,” Velasco said.
“Our best hope for avoiding a holiday spike of COVID-19 infections and deaths lies in large part on people who have not been vaccinated getting a jab during the three-day national vaccination drives,” he added.
The Speaker hailed as a “brilliant strategy” the Duterte administration’s “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program, which aims to inoculate an additional nine million eligible Filipinos from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
The government will hold another three-day national vaccination drive on Dec. 15 to 17 to achieve the goal of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos against COVID-19 by yearend.
Data from the National Vaccination Operations Center indicated that as of November 26, more than 35 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated, while another 45 million have received the first of two vaccine doses.
According to Velasco, the best way to safely gather with family and friends during the holidays is for everyone to be vaccinated, if eligible.
“Having a jab will protect you and your loved ones, especially unvaccinated children and immunocompromised family members, from COVID-19 exposure,” he pointed out.
Velasco also reminded the public to remain vigilant in following health and safety protocols, such as wearing of face masks, maintaining safe physical distancing, and practicing good hygiene that includes frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
Velasco, meanwhile, appealed to vaccine-hesitant Filipinos to reconsider their position and finally avail of the COVID-19 vaccines procured by the government.
He made the appeal amid mounting evidence that unvaccinated individuals are twice more likely to develop severe COVID-19, and nearly three times more likely to die from the disease.
On the other hand, Velasco said vaccines are proven safe and effective at preventing serious illness or death due to COVID-19.
Velasco has been advocating for COVID-19 vaccination even before the country began rolling out its first coronavirus vaccines last March, believing it is one of the most important tools to end the pandemic.
The Speaker is the principal author in the House of Representatives of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which sought to expedite the purchase and administration of vaccines and to set up an indemnity fund to compensate individuals who will experience adverse effects after vaccination.
“Vaccines are unquestionably our best hope for getting past the COVID-19 pandemic,” the House chief said. (RAMJR/PIA MIMAROPA)