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Public urged anew to get COVID-19 jabs as wastage nears 50 million

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña on Thursday urged the public to get COVID-19 jabs as the number of COVID-19 vaccine wastage in the country will reach 50 million by the end of March.

Salvaña pointed out the clear and present danger amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the vulnerable sectors should be protected.

“I think the problem talaga with the vaccines, hindi nakikita ng mga tao yung clear and present danger. Sa America nga yung uptake nila ng bivalent vaccine ngayon is about only 15% and so,” Salvaña said at the public briefing.

(I think the problem with vaccines, people don't see the clear and present danger. In America, their uptake of the bivalent vaccine today is about only 15% and so.)

“I think that yung pagtrato natin sa COVID na alam na alam naman natin na mananatili dito ay intindihin natin hindi lang epekto sa atin but also to the people around us, should be the vulnerable population so kung may pagkakataon talaga na kumuha ng bakuna lalo na boosters kung you qualified [magbakuna], hindi lang ito para sa atin kung hindi para iba't ibang tao kasama na dyan yung vulnerable population,” he added.

(I think that our treatment of COVID, which we know very well will stay here, let's understand that it will not only affect us but also the people around us, the vulnerable population. So if there is an opportunity to get vaccinated, especially boosters if you're qualified to get vaccinated, it’s not just for us but for different people including the vulnerable population.)

He said vaccine wastage is also a problem in other countries around the world.

“Yung mga ibang bivalent vaccines sa US sobra talaga nila na stockpile kahit nga nung pumunta ako noong October eh hindi naman ako US citizen tinurukan pa rin nila ako dahil nagrequest ako,” he said.

(The other bivalent vaccines in the US, really have too much stockpile, even when I went in October, I'm not a US citizen, and they still injected me because I requested.)

The infectious disease expert highlighted the importance of continuous education to the public regarding COVID-19 jabs.

“I think the problem syempre takot na takot ang mga tao from the start ang bilis nung uptake pero psychology lang yan eh paghindi nila nakikita ang clear and present danger medyo nagiging ningas kugon ang mga tao hindi nila pinaprioritize,” he said.

(I think the problem is of course people are very scared from the start. That is why there was a swift uptake but that's just psychology. When they don't see the clear and present danger, people become a bit neglectful, they don't prioritize.)

“I think continued education is important at the same time very important to appeal to the sense of community ng mga tao na pagmataas ang level ng immunity mas naproprotektahan natin ang more vulnerable sectors of the society (of the people, in which if the level of immunity increased, the more we can protect the vulnerable sectors of the society),” he added.

Department of Health (DOH) officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said there are around 6.9 million vaccines that are currently "quarantined" as they are waiting for the vaccine manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the extension of their shelf lives.

Vergeire also said that the number of wastage might hit more than 60 million due to vaccine hesitancy, but she said the DOH is exerting efforts to ramp up the government's vaccination program. —NB, GMA Integrated News