Duterte appeals to Muslims: Get vaccinated

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Duterte appeals to Muslims: Get vaccinated
“My Muslim brothers and the guys running the BARMM, I’d like also to appeal to Chairman Murad (Ebrahim), kindly give a little push for the people there to get vaccinated,” President Rodrigo Duterte said during a pre-recorded public address aired on Monday night.
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MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has appealed to Muslims, particularly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), to get vaccinated against COVID as there is a resurgence in coronavirus infections in other countries.

“My Muslim brothers and the guys running the BARMM, I’d like also to appeal to Chairman Murad (Ebrahim), kindly give a little push for the people there to get vaccinated,” Duterte said during a pre-recorded public address aired on Monday night.

“Let me just appeal to everybody: get vaccinated or else we will not be able to solve the problem,” he said. “We are not out of the woods actually. We are still in a bind.”

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said that only 20 percent of the eligible population in the BARMM and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat Sarangani and General Santos) are fully vaccinated.

“This is worrisome because that is what is happening in Hong Kong, where less than 30 percent of their senior citizens are vaccinated. It will be difficult in case the BARMM will be hit by the pandemic,” Galvez said in a report to the President.

Hong Kong recently experienced a surge in COVID cases, which health experts attributed to the Omicron BA.2 subvariant.

Galvez was set to visit BARMM yesterday to personally talk to its officials about the importance of getting the COVID shots.

“Tell them that we honor the culture, but when it comes to what we’re doing to protect the nation, your reluctance and lack of interest to be vaccinated is not in my book, not a valid reason that you refuse to get vaccinated,” Duterte said to Galvez.

“BARMM officials, you are part of the government. You opted to be active still until the next election for your places there in BARMM territory… I’m ordering you, as a matter of fact, to really push the people to take the vaccine because it protects everybody,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año told Duterte that he instructed the Philippine National Police to coordinate with BARMM officials in implementing the  guidelines, allowing only vaccinated individuals to enter religious places like mosques regardless of the alert level in the area.?Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, who presented COVID updates to Duterte, warned against the possibility of another surge in infections due to campaign sorties and Holy Week activities.

“This surge can happen if we continue to have such activities and there will be no compliance with our safety protocols, and the low vaccination coverage in other areas,” Vergeire said.

Second booster

The approval of a second booster against COVID-19 for select population may come out soon, the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) said on Monday.

In an interview with OneNews’ The Chiefs aired over Cignal TV/TV5, VEP head Nina Gloriani said that with the emergence of new COVID variants, giving a fourth dose of the vaccine is “really critical.”

“Decision may come out a little after the Holy Week. Actually I know it will be soon,” Gloriani said.

Earlier, the VEP recommended to the Food and Drug Authority that a second booster or fourth dose of COVID jabs be given to senior citizens and people who are immuno-compromised and with high exposure to COVID patients.

The FDA has since been evaluating the recommendation and is yet to decide on the matter.

Gloriani said the VEP believes that those who got one-dose vaccine should be given another dose as part of their primary series to fortify their protection against the virus.

“We would prefer a second dose for them,” she said.

Currently, the only available COVID jabs that are given in single doses are Janssen and Sputnik V Light.

Gloriani said applications for one-dose vaccines, especially for Janssen, were approved because the world was looking for tools to halt the pandemic.

Data suggest that the efficacy is higher for two-dose vaccines and the supply for COVID jabs was limited at the start of the health crisis.

“We said at that time there was not enough supply (and) because the application was for one dose. But now we have so many supplies that are nearing expiry,” she said. – Sheila Crisostomo, Jose Rodel Clapano, Paolo Romero


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