By Vince Lopez
On board PR001—President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. thinks a vaccination push, especially for the youth, instead of mandatory face mask use will help stem the tide of rising COVID-19 cases in the country, he said Sunday before leaving for an official trip to the United States.
“It looks like, we will have to conduct again, especially for young people, we’ll have to conduct again a vaccination push to lessen that (COVID cases), especially with people being a little bit, shall we say, getting sick of the heat, that brings down the immunity of the body and that will make them more vulnerable to COVID again.” the President said onboard Presidential Flight PR001 en route to Washington DC.
The goal of the vaccination drive, he said, is to increase the output of vaccinated Filipinos and lessen the risk of moderate to severe COVID-19 cases.
“We might have to think about it (mandatory masking) … But what I am looking is because although the rate is increasing, our baseline where we started is very low so hopefully, we’re still going to be able to do it (vaccination),” Mr. Marcos said.
The President added he will wait for the guidelines and recommendations of the Department of Health and of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) that manages the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“Let’s see if the IATF has a guideline, if DOH has guidance. I think — I hope we don’t have to (mandatory masking). We might, but I hope not.” Mr. Marcos said.
DOH Officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said the rise in the positivity rate is due to several factors, which include the mobility of the population on holidays as well as the number of people taking COVID-19 tests.
President Marcos allayed fears about the rising numbers and expressed confidence that government instrumentalities will be able to manage the issue immediately.