Health Secretary Francisco Duque III advised Filipinos to hope for the best and still prepare for the worst with the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) because of the possible mutation of the virus into other future variants that will pose a serious threat to public health and safety.
Duque, who led the launching of the Resbakuna sa Bakuna sa Botika at the Watson’s in SM City Baguio Wednesday, urged Filipinos to take advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated against the deadly virus to spare them from the deadly complications of the virus and for the protection of the members of their families.
Joining Duque in the launching of the Resbakuna sa Botika were Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Presidential Adviser on Anti-COVID-19 response Vince Dizon and regional and city health officials.
The health official pointed out that making the vaccines accessible to the people will help the government achieve the second milestone of 77 million Filipinos or 70 percent of the country’s population being fully vaccinated to protect them from the severe complications of the various variants of the virus.
However, Secretary Duque emphasized that the vaccination of the 70 percent of the country’s population should not make people complacent in dealing with the virus as they still need to prevent its rapid spread by complying with the minimum public health standards, such as the wearing of face masks, the practice of physical distancing, regular handwashing and disinfection, as well as proper ventilation.
He stipulated that the country’s first achieved milestone was when it successfully fully vaccinated 54 million individuals amidst high vaccination hesitancy and the efforts to implement the mass vaccination program will still be enhanced to make vaccines accessible to the people.
The Secretary appealed to private companies with exemplary corporate social responsibility programs to help the government in making vaccines accessible to the people by providing spaces for the conduct of vaccination in the different parts of the country.
As the country transitions from the pandemic to the endemic regime, Duque explained that the health care utilization rate should not exceed the 70 percent threshold so as not to unduly stress the frontliners, aside from making sure that the vulnerable portion of the population, such as the senior citizens and individuals with co-morbidities, will be vaccinated through various strategies to reach them, particularly through the mobile vaccination among others.
He asserted that more importantly, people must be disciplined in complying with the minimum public health standards as this is one of the most effective ways to prevent infection, apart from ensuring they are fully vaccinated, and that their places are well ventilated to allow the proper flow of air.