By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri over the weekend said the budget for purchase of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, is an urgent and top priority for the senate.
Zubiri admitted that as long as there is no present solution for the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s economy will further slump due to all the restrictions.
The senator said vaccines are now the top priority for the senate. The senate along with the House of Representatives have already allocated P72.5 billion for the purchase of the vaccines, and another standby fund of P10 billion was prepared as part of Bayanihan 2.
Aside from the purchase, the funds also include the storage, transportation, distribution, and actual vaccination.
Zubiri believes it is the most necessary requirement today to achieve economic stability and normalcy.
“Without the vaccine, kalulu-oy kita tanan,” he said.
Zubiri also revealed that the private companies have chipped in on the vaccination program, wherein they will purchase 3 million doses of vaccines, of which 1.5 million will be donated to the government, while the other half will be used to vaccinate their respective employees.
Zubiri added that around 25 million people could be vaccinated by next year based on the statement given to him by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., with health workers and other essential frontliners being the priority to get the vaccines first, followed by senior citizens.
“Hopefully we will be able to achieve herd immunity, butang naton sa mga city centers such as Bacolod City, Cebu City, and Metro Manila,” he said. “If we vaccinate the population in those cities, slowly we’ll be able to see [COVID-19] vanishing in those areas.”
In the meantime, Zubiri appealed to the public to cooperate with the health protocols such as wearing of face masks and observing physical distancing./DGB, WDJ