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Vaccines: The only way to save lives and livelihoods

GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! - Joey Concepcion (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2021 - 12:00am

Last Saturday, I had an interview with Henry Uri of dzRH News where we talked about the importance of the vaccine and how with the challenging nature of balancing lives and livelihoods, the vaccine is the only tool to be able to accomplish this. Here are some of the highlights of that interview:

Henry: Pansin po ba ninyo na parang paulit-ulit ang nangyayari, tataas, bababa tapos tataas po ulit ang mga cases. Ano po talaga kaya ang problema? Ano ang nakikita nyong mali at kulang?

Joey: Ang tingin ko talaga itong ginagawa natin mula last year ng mag-lockdown, wearing of mask, face shield, and social distancing, it is only a way to co-exist with the virus, pero hindi fully ma so-solve ang problema natin dito. Sinasabi ko na dati pa, ang pinakaimportanteng weapon natin dito sa COVID-19 ay itong mga bakuna natin. Ito ang solusyon sa balancing lives and livelihoods, and that will only happen if we really have the vaccine program accelerated and we are able to achieve herd immunity.

Henry: What about mass testing at ang matutuklasang positive dalhin na agad sa quarantine and isolation facilities?

Joey: Yes, importante yan at ang Go Negosyo, with our groups from the private sector, talagang we believe in that since day one last year. Pero, there is a limit to all of that, in other words, we are just buying time. Ang talagang solusyon natin ay ang mga vaccines at expected itong June, talagang dagsa ang vaccines na darating para sa private sector, with AstraZeneca at Moderna. Iyan talaga ang solusyon and maybe, as we are able to vaccinate more people in the country, and hopefully, at least hit 70 to 80 percent sa NCR before the end of the year, malaking bagay na rin yan. Being able to do that, makikita natin that the level of infection will go down. There will also be more stability in the economy because there is some level of immunity already in our community. ‘Yan ang importante, that is what I am trying to stress.

Henry: Under the tripartite agreement, pumasok po kayo sa pagbili with the private sector ng vaccine from AstraZeneca, tama po ba? Paano po kaya ito ngayon na may mga ulat na sa ibang mga bansa na hinold na muna nila ang pagtuturok ng AstraZeneca, lalo sa mga senior. Ano po ang epekto nito sa inyo at sa industriya?

Joey: I think I have to correct the information. Yung sa UK, hindi naman sila pumara, ang restrictions nila is 30 years and below. So, 30 years old and above can take the AstraZeneca. Pero dito sa bansa natin ang ginawa ng FDA, basically, only seniors can take AstraZeneca, 60 years old and above, kaya alanganin yan. Sa buong mundo, maybe there is only one country there, pero the rest have no age restrictions. Dito sa ASEAN countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, walang restrictions with AstraZeneca.

Kung titignan mo ang level of risk natin dito, out of basically 25 million people vaccinated in the UK and Europe, only 86 had the rare blood clotting issue, that is only .000003 or three in one million people. Let’s put this versus the 1.7 percent that is dying of COVID in the country, ang layo in terms of number of people, that’s 14,000 deaths out of the 800,000 cases. Also, of the 500,000 administered with AstraZeneca vaccine in the country, not even one has been reported to have the rare blood clotting.

What I am trying to say here is itong programa natin sa pagbabakuna ay talagang importante. Yung kinuha ng private sector, talagang ‘yon ang solusyon natin, kaya tumulong kami. Bumili kami ng almost six million doses at yung LGU bumili ng 11 million doses, lahat ito ay darating from June onwards, so 17 million doses dagdag mo pa ang COVAX ng gobyerno na mga four million, that is 21 million, that is good for 11 million people. In NCR, bulk of the population ang maco-cover na niyan, kaya hindi natin pwedeng pagbawalan ang AstraZeneca na gamitin ng mga tao below 60 years old, that’s the working population.

Henry: Sir Joey, bibigyan namin ulit kayo ng pagkakataon para kausapin ang work force lalo pa’t sila ang target natin na mabakunahan ng AstraZeneca na marahil matapos nga po ng statement ng FDA ay may pag-aalinlangan na ngayon. Ano po ang gusto niyong iparating sa kanila.

Joey: Alam naman natin na ang problema ng bansa ay itong ekonomiya natin at ang palagiang pagsasarado nito dahil sa infection level. Talagang mahirap i-balanse ang lives and livelihood, when you save the lives, talagang matatamaan ang livelihoods, and if you try to save livelihoods, then tatamaan yung lives. Ang talagang solution natin dito ay ang pagkuha nating lahat ng vaccine, maski anong brand, importante yan para patuloy na maprotektahan ang sarili natin, ang mga kasama natin sa pagtatrabaho at ang pamilya natin, yan ang solusyon dito sa gyera with COVID-19.

Tumutulong ang private sector sa government para umunlad tayo at mabigyan ng solusyon ang pandemiya upang mabuksan na natin ang ekonomiya at masigurado na hindi naman tatamaanang buhay. “We have to save lives and livelihoods,” ‘yan ang mantra ng private sector at katulong namin dito ang government. With everyone taking the vaccine, I hope that we’ll achieve herd immunity and have a much better 2022.

COVID-19 VACCINE
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