SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, said that he and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will personally witness the turnover ceremony of the first batch of Sinovac vaccines which are slated to arrive in the country on February 28.

The Sinovac vaccines, which are the country’s first batch of COVID-19 jabs, consist of 600,000 doses. Some of which have been reserved for military personnel and civilian employees of the Department of National Defense (DND).

“Kami ni Pangulong Durerte po ay sasalubong at magrereceive po ng bakuna mula sa China. Ito po ay donated vaccines,” Go said during his personal visit and distribution of assistance to employees of Veterans Golf Club in Quezon City.

“Darating na sa February 28. I think 5:00 p.m. po ay tatanggapin ni Pangulong Duterte,” he added.

Relieved that the vaccines will make it before the month ends, Go said that the event will involve a simple turnover ceremony to be attended by Duterte.

“Simple turnover naman po ito dahil kami po ni Pangulo ay nagagalak na meron na pong dumating finally sa February. Umabot po tayo sa February. On the last day po ay darating na po ang bakuna,” said Go.

“Matagal na natin itong inaantay. Ako, as a legislator, talagang kinukulit ko po. Naawa na ako kina Vaccine Czar Secretary (Carlito) Galvez, Jr. at (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque. Halos araw-araw ko silang nire-remind. Sabi ko, ‘sir, inip na po ang ating mahal na Pangulo dahil kailangan na nating mag-umpisang mag-rollout,” he added.

Go also shared that the Veterans Memorial Medical Center has been identified by the government as one of the medical institutions to lead the facilitation of the vaccine rollout.

“Isa po ito sa na-identify ng gobyerno. Ang Veterans Hospital ang mangunguna at handa na po ang mga doktor at frontliners para simulan ang vaccine rollout once dumating na,” he said.

“I think sila po ang mamumuno sa ituturok po sa sundalo o civilian employees ng DND,” Go added.

While he and the President have been reminding authorities to fast track the procurement of the vaccines, Go said that they understand the many challenges surrounding the purchase, including the stiff requirement by vaccine manufacturers for an indemnity measure, among others.

“Kami po dito ni Pangulo, laging nagpapaalala na bilisan n’yo na po ang vaccine, kaya lang po intindihin din natin. Alam n’yo, ang mga manufacturers, sigurista. Takot po silang balikan kaya meron na po tayong indemnification na pipirmahan na po ng Pangulo bukas,” Go said.

Vaccine manufacturers require indemnity and liability frameworks, which include setting up an indemnification fund backed by legislation, to safeguard them from possible damage suits.

Senate Bill No. 2057, which proposed the required indemnification fund and clause for COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the country, was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, February 23. The House of Representatives adopted the Senate version of the measure on the same day. Go shared that the law will most likely be signed by the President before the end of this week.

Go also reiterated the need for a comprehensive information dissemination campaign on the vaccines to improve the confidence and trust of the public.

“Importante po dito ang info campaign dahil marami pa pong kababayan natin ang takot pang magpabakuna. Tinatanong ko sila. Iilan lang nagtataas ng kamay,” he shared.

“Siguraduhin muna nating safe at epektibo ito at makuha natin ang tiwala ng ordinaryong mamamayang Pilipino. ‘Yun po ang importante sa ngayon. Ine-encourage ko po ang mga kapwa kong Pilipino na magtiwala tayo sa gobyerno dahil itong bakuna, ito po ang susi. ‘Yun ang solusyon,” he urged the public.

As for the other vaccines ordered by the government, Go said that there is no definite date yet with regard to their arrival. He assured, however, that concerned agencies have been seeking the assistance of the country’s diplomatic missions abroad to expedite the release of the vaccines.

“Ini-expect po ni Secretary Galvez na mauunang dumating ‘yung mula sa COVAX, eh, wala pa pong binibigay na definite date ang COVAX para sa 117,000 Pfizer (vaccines) at 5,500,000 mula sa AstraZeneca,” he said.

“Ako po mismo, nakiusap na ako kagabi kay Ambassador Daniel Pruce ng UK, ambassador nila dito sa bansa. Nakiusap na kami ni Secretary Galvez sa kaniya na sana ay tulungan tayo, ang ating bansa, na ma-expedite po ang release ng ipinangako ng COVAX. Nangako po ang COVAX. Ang problema po, ‘yung supply nila ‘di pa po nagco-commit,” Go added.

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