Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday urged the government to take the opportunity to vaccinate more Filipinos while the number of active COVID-19 cases are low.
“The health department is telling us that we cannot prevent the entry of the Omicron variant here in the country. A health official said we can only slow it down, but not stop it. So right now we should be preparing,” said Binay.
Binay, who is running for senator in the May 9, 2022 elections, said the travel ban on select countries is a good sign that the government is finally being proactive.
“But it needs to also focus on strengthening our health defenses while cases are still down,” he said.
Binay said the government must use this moment when there are low cases to inoculate more people, especially those outside Metro Manila.
“More importantly, we should have an efficient health system. December and January should be devoted to strengthening our defenses against a newer, more infectious variant,” he said.
Binay said if there is enough medicine and supplies, as well as nurses and health workers, and effective testing and contract tracing, “we would be better prepared in case we have another surge because of the Omicron variant.”
“We need to protect our people from any further harm, and our economy from any further damage. The key is to make health a priority and to make sure that the health front is managed competently,” he added.
The former vice president earlier urged the government to send more COVID-19 vaccines outside Metro Manila, saying the supply should not be concentrated in the capital region.
“Every citizen, including those from the provinces, should be vaccinated,” he said.
Binay said the vaccination rate remains low in several regions. He noted that a number of local officials have complained that their request for more vaccines has not been acted upon by the national government.
“If we want the country to get back on its feet, we need to vaccinate everyone, not just a few,” he added.