Gov't eyes three-day 'national vaccination' drive vs. COVID-19


With vaccine supply no longer a problem this year, the government is eyeing to conduct a three-day "national vaccination" drive against COVID-19, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.

In a television interview, Galvez likened the activity to the conduct of elections, saying this will involve both the public and private sectors.

"All the agencies, including the military, government agencies, private sector, will also pool in their resources. So parang big day natin, parang election day na nakita natin [So it is like a big day, like election day]," he told ANC.

He said the Philippine Medical Association has suggested to "transform" schools into inoculation sites.

"Parang mga presinto na ginagawa po natin tuwing elections [They would be like precincts during elections]," Galvez said.

He said the endeavor, to be conducted in late November, is aimed at training communities to conduct massive vaccination activities. Among those tapped to perform inoculations are dentists and pediatricians, he said.

"Ang gagawain natin talaga basically is to train, mobilize and also to acclimatize ang ating mga municipalities kasi kulang ang ating know-how to do a massive mobilizations on inoculation," Galvez said.

(What we'll do is train, mobilize and also acclimatize our municipalities to vaccination because we really have limited know-how to do massive mobilizations on inoculation.)

Galvez said the government is eyeing to administer at least 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of November.

The government is aiming to vaccinate 70% of the entire population by the end of the year. So far, only 27.7 million Filipinos or nearly 36% have been fully vaccinated.


Mandatory vaccination

As for making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory, Galvez said he is now in favor of it and that an executive order from President Rodrigo Duterte may be sufficient for it.

"I believe puwede kasi tulad ng ginawa natin sa no smoking [policy]," he said when asked if an EO is enough for mandatory vaccination, especially of people in the education sector.

"Kung lahat tayo ay vaccinated, doon lang tayo talaga magkakaroon ng tinatawag nating complete safety and protection [We can only achieve safety and protection if all of us are vaccinated],” he said, citing the World Health Organization.

Galvez noted that in some countries such as the United States, some universities and colleges are requiring their staff and students to get inoculated against COVID-19 first before they can enter the campus.

“We are at risk if we will not vaccinate everybody. And if we have a sizable amount of 20 million roaming around, those anti-vaxxers, it will even threaten those who are vaccinated,” Galvez said.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) had earlier reported that more than 80% of the public school teachers are already vaccinated.

CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera III said they do not require mandatory vaccination among college students who attend limited face-to-face classes, although the learning institutions have the authority to come up with such a requirement. —KBK, GMA News