Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of the Philippines are ready to receive the vaccine against Covid-19 in public in order to help allay the fears of the population. "Bishops can also receive the anti-Covid vaccine on television, so that we can encourage people and overcome fears of vaccination", said Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, President of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), recalling that both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also received it.
Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, of the diocese of Kalookan, Vice-president of the Bishops' Conference also confirmed: "As a Catholic Church, we will offer and do everything possible to put an end to the fears related to vaccination", noting that many dioceses have established partnerships with local governments for the vaccine.
The Bishops also said they would support the country's vaccination program, adding that they have provided or used Church facilities to set up vaccine delivery points, especially in rural and remote areas.
They also want the vaccine to be provided to those working "on the front line" such as health workers, the elderly, poor and vulnerable communities, essential workers and the rest of the population.
A recent poll conducted in the country indicates that many Filipinos (seven out of ten) have expressed "hesitation about the vaccine" for reasons of effectiveness or for fear of long-term side effects.
The Philippine government has claimed that at least 5.6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are expected to arrive in the country by the first quarter of 2021. The nation is expected to receive a total of 9.4 million doses from both producers by the end of the second quarter.
Local authorities in the Philippines and the private sector are preparing for the vaccination campaign, with the necessary vaccination sites, the acquisition of vaccine storage equipment and the preparation of personnel responsible for vaccination. The Philippines, the government said, plans to vaccinate 70 million people by 2021 to achieve herd immunity. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 6/2/2021)