Sotto: Government must find ways to persuade unvaxxed to get jab

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Sotto: Government must find ways to persuade unvaxxed to get jab
Vendors and shoppers at Ilaya Divisoria show their vaccination card in a surprise random inspection of Task Force Malasakit of Manila on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2022. The move was made following the approval of a new city ordinance prohibiting unvaccinated individuals outside their homes.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The government should be aggressive in finding alternative ways to persuade Filipinos to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19, instead of employing “strong-arm methods” that discriminate against unvaccinated individuals.

This was the take of Senate President Vicente Sotto III on new policies aimed at restricting the movement of the unvaccinated. “The government should explore different methods or means to convince the people to avail of the vaccination instead of resorting to strong arm methods that is very difficult to implement,” Sotto told “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News.

He noted the Department of Transportation (DOTr)’s “no vaccination, no ride” policy in public transport as “definitely debatable,” given the lack of definitive laws to enforce such a ban on a sector of the riding public.

“Nice to hear. Nice soundbyte but can they do it?” he asked as he stressed that the government is “supposed to serve the people, vaccinated or not.”

Sotto urged all concerned to respect those who refuse vaccination but not give up in convincing them how important the life-saving jabs are.

Also on The Chiefs Thursday night was vaccine expert Dr. Nina Gloriani, who is inclined to support tougher measures to boost COVID-19 vaccination among the eligible population.

Gloriani stressed that higher protection in the population will better control COVID-19 replication and mutation, which is to blame for the emergence of the new variants of concern causing these surges.

She believes that tough measures, like the DOTr’s “no vaccination, no ride” policy, could drive more unvaccinated individuals to get the jabs.

Gloriani said the massive spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant is a result of a deficiency in protection. “Nagkulang kasi ang protection,” she said.

Omicron and hybrid immunity

The vaccine expert said the Omicron variant came from a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patient and that the infection of an individual vaccinated against COVID-19 may or may not result in “hybrid immunity.”

“The Omicron brought COVID-19 seemingly like with a vengeance with so many mutations and these mutations came from an HIV patient who was not getting treatment, so it had an immune deficient state. The COVID-19 mutated in the body,” Gloriani told The Chiefs.

“With the numerous mutations of Omicron, it is highly transmissible,” she added. Insisting on the importance of vaccination, Gloriani said: “What we know – (based on) the data that is emerging – is that vaccination protects against especially the severe form of COVID-19.”

She said vaccine experts are now getting data on whether or not the COVID-19 vaccination was giving rise to “hybrid immunity.”

“We are in a situation where many are already vaccinated. So we have vaccine-induced immunity. Then there is breakthrough infection, so you get now natural immunity. That is what we call hybrid immunity,” Gloriani said.

“What we have learned so far, hybrid immunity is higher than either natural immunity, or vaccine (induced) immunity,” Gloriani said.

However, Gloriani said that a vaccinated person should not intentionally expose himself to the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus. –  Rainier Allan Ronda, Sheila Crisostomo


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