The poor and vulnerable sectors have been reassured by Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go, of the availability, accessibility, and affordability of the Covid vaccine, even as everyone’s attention has been drawn to responding to calamities brought about by the series of typhoons.
“Dapat sagutin ito ng gobyerno, lalong-lalo na sa ating kababayan na wala pong inaasahan at wala pong access kung saan kukuha ng vaccine. Kami ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, uunahin namin ang lahat ng mga mahihirap at kapos para makabalik na tayo sa normal nating pamumuhay. Basta safe na ‘yung vaccine,” he said.
Go reiterated his commitment to introduce and push for measures that promote and protect the public’s health. The Senator authored and sponsored the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 which was enacted into law late last year to provide convenient access to medical and financial assistance for poor and indigent patients.
He has also filed bills to improve access and strengthen healthcare services such as Senate Bill No. 398 which would expand the coverage of the existing mandatory basic immunization program of the government, and SBN 1226 which would ease the process for increasing the bed capacity and capabilities of Department of Health-run hospitals.
When asked about the President’s choice as the vaccine czar, the Senator expressed his support for the designation of National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. as vaccine czar.
“Punong-puno na ang Department of Health. Overloaded na ang trabaho ng ating health officials headed by Secretary Fancisco Duque at wala na pong tulog. Overloaded na sila sa pandemyang ito so dapat mayroon pong in charge sa vaccine. Kailangan natin ng tao dyan na may alam sa logistics, supply chain, at crisis management,” he explained.
He stressed the need for a single chain of command to ensure the vaccine’s orderly and swift distribution to the public. As vaccine czar, the former military chief shall be primarily responsible for the purchase, negotiation, manufacture, production and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine once it is available.
Earlier, Go called on the DOH and concerned agencies to develop an overall strategy for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to the general population. He also asked government to ensure the speedy and uninterrupted supply of vaccines in the country by putting in place a national strategy to secure the supply chain for the COVID-19 vaccine, medicines and other related health commodities.
“Huwag natin pabayaan ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino na kailangan na makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay upang maibangon mula sa kahirapan ang kanilang pamilya,” he added.