MANILA – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Health (CBCP-ECH) on Monday urged the public not to be reluctant and have themselves inoculated with whatever available vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“We should not be reluctant about the vaccine and be prepared for the vaccine, we need to be inoculated so that we can alleviate the loss of dear lives,” said CBCP-ECH vice chairman Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio.
He said the public should make use of the available vaccine after the government announced that another 1.4 million doses of Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine are set to arrive on March 21.
Aside from the CoronaVac jabs, the country is slated to receive around 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through the COVAX Facility, to be delivered until May.
On Sunday, Moderna Inc. announced it has signed a supply agreement with the Philippines for 13 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine that will arrive by the third quarter of this year.
“We know that this Covid will stay even without vaccine or with vaccine. They will stay with us for a while. Now, we know that there is already an available vaccine out there, it might not be enough, but it is there already and for us Catholic this may be the answer to our Oratio Imperata. Why not avail for those who are given the slots. Otherwise, our Oratio will be useless,” he said in an interview.
The Philippines received its first batch of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine on Feb. 28 donated by China and 520,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived in two batches through COVAX Facility on March 4 and 7.
As for those who expressed concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine side effects, Florencio said the faithful are not being forced to have the vaccine.
“Now for those, who would want to argue that this or that vaccine has many side effects, any other vaccines have their side effects. If we are not sure, don’t get the vaccine. But if we know that we are healthy and ready for the vaccine and we’re given a slot, then take it,” he said. “Just like what the experts said the best vaccine is what you have now, because the other vaccines have not been approved and we have not acquired them.”
Several bishops have already expressed willingness to have themselves vaccinated against the virus. (PNA)
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