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In an interview with Tony Velasquez and Danny Buenafe yesterday, I stressed that it is high time for everyone to get vaccinated, given the compelling urgency from the detection of new COVID-19 cases involving the most dreaded Delta variant in the country.
I shared with them that the situation we are currently in is very serious. There is no way to doubt it. The national government cannot just keep on giving unlimited ‘ayuda’ or cash aid to those who are severely affected by the current crisis. This Delta variant will soon lose its strength and its more serious mutation, which is the Lambda variant, will take over. Hence, the pandemic will never end for as long as a big portion of our population is unvaccinated; that is the actual science to it. Take a look at our neighboring countries like Indonesia, India, and Thailand, and how the surge of cases remains constant. We have to beat COVID-19 and convince everyone to get vaccinated; that is the only solution.
In fact, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that if their citizens refuse vaccination for reasons that are not medical-related, they will be mandated to be confined at their homes. At a certain point in time, when we have already received a lot of vaccines in the country, and we are getting there right now, then we have to work double-time to convince everyone that unvaccinated people are a threat to everyone because the Delta variant is actually looking for them. A person that is unvaccinated is actually a breeding ground for the most dreaded Delta variant.
As French President Emmanuel Macron stressed, “I no longer have any intention of sacrificing my life, my time, my freedom and the adolescence of my daughters, as well as their right to study properly, for those who refuse to be vaccinated. This time you stay at home, not us.”
In France, those who refuse vaccination will be restricted from entering restaurants, cinemas, and museums. Next month, they will also be prevented from transporting by airplanes or trains, as well as entry in various cafes across France. Alternatively, they will have to submit negative COVID-19 test results which will no longer be free of charge. PCR test will cost 49 Euros, while 29 Euros will be charged for the antigen test. Macron then announced the obligation to get vaccinated for medical personnel and for those who are working in close contact with vulnerable individuals. Since Sept. 15 last year, a nurse who refused to be vaccinated will no longer be able to go to work and receive a salary. According to Macron, “We cannot make those who have the civic sense to get vaccinated bear the burden of inconvenience. The restrictions will weigh on others, those who for reasons incomprehensible in the country of Louis Pasteur, science and the Enlightenment still hesitate to use the only weapon available against the pandemic – the vaccine. I am aware of what I am asking you,” he said, “and I know that you are ready for this commitment. This is, in a sense, part of your sense of duty.”
Hence, it is just rational for our national government to give more liberty to those who are already fully-vaccinated. Take note, COVID-19 is not a simple flu virus, but a serious, virulent one. What is at stake at this point is not only the lives of the Filipinos, but also the livelihood and the entire economy of the Philippines. What are we going to do – borrow trillions of money just to keep the economy afloat? That is not the ideal. So, I am reiterating my appeal to all of those who are unvaccinated. Yes, maybe today the vaccine supply is not yet at its fullest, but we should set a definite time frame. Let us say this October, when there is a sufficient supply of vaccines already in the Philippines, then there should be no hindrance anymore for everyone to take their chance to get vaccinated and protect everyone against the Delta variant.
The vaccines for our employees have arrived. The private sector is playing a big role in trying to achieve population protection, which targets 50 percent of NCR Plus, but definitely, we are looking forward to achieving herd immunity by the end of the year. Again, I reiterate my appeal to all Filipino citizens: we cannot win the war; we bought the vaccines, but if you do not take the vaccines, then we will not be able to succeed in beating COVID-19. It is your obligation to take the vaccines so you can protect yourself and others.
After we see that there is no dearth anymore in the supply of the vaccines, it is only by that time we can make a decision to get vaccinated. Again, there is no discrimination involved at this point because there is a choice to get vaccinated. If there are enough supplies of vaccines and you have a choice to opt for them, why will there be any discrimination involved? It is a conscious choice. The Delta variant is such a strong virus. While there may be granular lockdowns to quell its spread, these things will not really work eternally and are only short-term solutions. As you can see in Indonesia, granular lockdowns have proven to be ineffective. Hence, it is crystal-clear for the unvaccinated to be convinced since they are the weakest link at this point in our society. We can utilize every chance we can get just to do so; we can either convince them through promos and other strategies. The national government will eventually deplete its resources. Our funds are finite. Yes, I respect the rights of everybody and the choices they make. However, they also have to think of us, who are already fully-vaccinated. Are we going to implement lockdown again to quell the Delta variant? We have to rethink.