MANILA – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has underscored the role being played by the frontline media workers in the information dissemination amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Go, chair of the Senate committee on health, made this remark as he welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to include media personnel in the updated list of sectors under priority group A4 of the National Covid-19 Vaccine Program.
He pointed out that media workers, especially field reporters, put their health and safety at risk to keep Filipinos informed about the country’s current situation.
“Ang importante naman rito ngayon, kung ano ‘yung available na bakuna na dumarating, sundin lang natin ang priority list ng gobyerno, sa health workers, sa front-liners, pababa sa indigents, sa mga senior citizens. Ito naman sa A4 natin … ay napakahalaga rin ang kanilang (media) ginagampanan (The important thing here now, whatever vaccine is available, let’s just follow the priority list of the government, to health workers, to front-liners, down to the indigents, to senior citizens. In our A4, the role media plays is also very important),” Go said on Saturday.
He previously appealed for the inclusion of media members in the Covid-19 vaccination priority list without prejudice to other sectors already identified as priorities.
According to the IATF-EID resolution on April 15, frontline media workers in private and government news organizations will be vaccinated alongside other essential sectors in the A4 category, such as commuter transport workers, market vendors, and frontline workers in the food industry, among others.
“I will clarify sa IATF kung anong mga guidelines at polisiya, saan kayo lalapit para mabakunahan na at tuluy-tuloy ang ating rollout (I will clarify with the IATF what the guidelines and policies are, where you will go to be vaccinated and our rollout will continue),” Go said while addressing the media.
In line with this, Go called on the government to provide detailed guidelines on required processes to be followed by those who are eligible to be inoculated.
Go reiterated the need to ensure accessible, efficient, and orderly vaccine rollout in different parts of the country to lessen waiting time and exposure of the public.
He also urged the Department of Health (DOH) to spread out vaccination centers in barangays and even consider administering vaccines in villages or smaller residential clusters.
“Bringing vaccines to smaller residential clusters, like villages, sitios, or subdivisions, will avoid overcrowding in existing vaccination centers and will prevent the further spread of Covid-19,” Go said. “As we expect more vaccines to be delivered and as we have also widened the priority list to cater to more essential sectors, we must keep on ramping up and speeding up the vaccination rollout to achieve herd immunity.”
He said doing inoculation in smaller residential clusters would be safer for residents than asking them to go to overcrowded barangay vaccination centers and those located in malls.
“LGUs and DOH must maximize available facilities, volunteers, doctors and nurses to speed up an orderly inoculation. Sabi nga ng Pangulo noon, dalhin dapat ang bakuna sa pinaka-mahihirap at pinaka-malalayong mga lugar (As the President said before, bring the vaccines in the poorest and farthest places),” he said.
Go reiterated the importance of strictly adhering to the vaccination priority list.
He reminded the public to be disciplined, vigilant, and cooperative with the government in the face of rising new cases of Covid-19 infections. (PR)