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Panelo: Get vax; don’t panic

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo on Monday hit back anew on pundits criticizing the government’s mass vaccination program against the coronavirus disease, insisting the lag is not a procurement problem.

He said the number of Filipinos wanting to be inoculated should be the concern.

“They’ve hurled all kinds of issues against the government regarding the vaccination program in relation to the coronavirus (pandemic). They alleged there’s corruption, it’s slow, there’s preference. All those are irrelevant. The question really is, do we have people to vaccinate?” Panelo said in his online show “Counterpoint”.

The Palace official cited an earlier Pulse Asia survey which stated that 47 percent of Filipinos have reservations about getting the Covid-19 jab.

“And if I’m not mistaken, 25 percent remain undecided whether or not they want to get the vaccine,” he noted.

“From the 47 percent from the Pulse Asia survey done 22 February until 3 March is now at 61 percent. Hopefully, after the survey, because a lot of those working in the frontlines have already received their vaccines, more citizens will be convinced to get vaccinated. Sixty-one percent is too high,” he added.

Panelo again called on the Duterte administration’s critics to just help the government in enticing the public to get protected against the deadly viral respiratory disease instead of throwing criticisms especially that Covid-19 infections in the country are still alarmingly rising.

He pointed to the people’s doubts on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines as the top reasons why confidence level remains low.

While the mass population have yet to be administered the anti-coronavirus jab, Panelo appealed to the public to strictly follow the health and safety protocols especially during the week-long re-imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, also known as NCR+.

As of yesterday, the Department of Health has recorded an all-time high 10,016 new Covid-19 cases for a single day, bringing the total nationwide tally to 731,894.

“If you’re not an APOR (Authorized Persons Outside Residence), just stay home. Follow the minimum health protocols like washing of the hands, wearing of masks, and proper distancing. Basic,” Panelo stated.

“There’s also no need to panic, go panic buying. There are enough vegetables, meat, fish available. This has been guaranteed by the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. There is no need to hoard,” he stressed.

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