Get vaccinated to ‘overcome’ COVID-19 pandemic, says Duterte

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte renewed his appeal to the Filipinos to get vaccinated and strictly follow the minimum health standards to help overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

Duterte made the call as he welcomed the arrival of more than 2.8 million doses of Russian-made Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City on Monday night.

“I appeal to all our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) to cooperate and do their part to help overcome this pandemic. The government cannot do this alone and we need your active participation by getting vaccinated and strictly following the minimum health standards,” he said in speech.

He thanked the Russian government for facilitating the largest shipment so far of Sputnik V vaccine into the country.

“Let me express my gratitude to the Russian Government for the continued supply of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines to the Philippines. These deliveries affirm Russia’s commitment to [achieving global] vaccine equity and improving vaccine accessibility to countries, especially the Philippines,” Duterte said.

Duterte said he deeply appreciate Russia’s efforts in fostering cooperation in various areas, including the fight against Covid-19.

“Goodwill initiatives, such as this vaccine donation and others, demonstrate the strong ties and friendship between Russia and the Philippines,” he added.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov, who was present during the arrival, said the Russian government would continue to support the Philippines’s Covid vaccination program and stressed the vaccine shipment is just one of more points of future cooperation between the two countries.

Duterte also acknowledged the strong efforts of the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the National Task Force against Covid-19 (NTF), and other institutional partners for ensuring a steady supply of vaccines in this country.

“Amidst the threat of variants, you attended to the prompt, safe and effective delivery, distribution and administration of the vaccines across the country,” he said. “Let us work together to put an end to this disease and its harmful effects to our people and economy for nearly two years now.”

He assured that his administration is committed to securing safe and effective vaccines for all Filipinos.

“Let us celebrate all our meaningful victories against Covid-19 pandemic. We are winning our battle against the virus. Let us continue to be safe and in good health,” he said.

Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said local government leaders, particularly provincial governors have expressed willingness to expedite the government’s vaccination program.

Año said meetings with local government chief executives to speed up the vaccination have been fruitful.

“We had a meeting with mayors, governors with Secretary [Carlito] Galvez [Jr.] at nakuha natin ang commitment ng mayors at governors para i-double time nila yung pagvaccinate. Halos lahat ng governors andun” (and we got the commitment of mayors and governors to work double time for the vaccination. Almost all of the governors were present),” he said.

Galvez, chief implementer of NTF and vaccine czar, said the latest delivery of vaccine brought to over 113 million the country’s vaccine stockpiles.

He expressed optimism that the aim to vaccinate up to 70 percent of the target population will be achieved by the end of the year.

Galvez earlier said the steady delivery of vaccines since October has allowed the government to further ramp up the nationwide rollout.According to the National Covid-19 Vaccination dashboard, the Philippines has so far administered 64,195,936 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including 29,477,961 Filipinos who were already fully vaccinated against the dreaded virus. (PNA)