Philippine Church leaders continue urging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines continue their call for people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease this week.

In the Diocese of Mati in Davao Oriental province, Bishop Abel Apigo urged the faithful to avail of the government’s vaccination program against COVID-19.

“Let us end COVID-19, let us avail of the vaccination program so that we will be able to have herd immunity,” said the bishop.

He said that only in getting vaccinated can the country overcome the threat of the coronavirus disease.

“We pray fervently for the end of COVID-19,” he said. “May God bless all of us and may God bless our country that soon COVID-19 would be gone,” said Bishop Apigo.

Bishop Jose Elmer Mangalinao of Bayombong in northern Luzon said the public should not be worried about the effects of the vaccines.

“Let us all help each other and get vaccinated,” said the bishop in an interview with Radio Veritas 846. “Let us not be afraid because the vaccines are there to save lives,” he added.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization lauded the vaccination program of the Philippine government, saying it’s “going quite well.”

“We have seen that they have a good plan of ensuring that when it is made available, they are distributed to the local government units as soon as possible,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

He said was pleased to hear that at least 95 percent of healthcare workers in the country and close to 50 percent of elderly have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The government is putting significant effort in vaccinations,” he said in a virtual media briefing.

The Philippines has already fully vaccinated 13.19 million — or 17% of the target population to reach herd immunity — while 17.49 million have received their first dose.

WHO data showed, however, that as of August 24, the Philippines had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific Region.

It was also the country with the most number of infections recorded on that day, followed by Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

The spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, insufficient adherence to minimum public health standards, and difficulty in detecting asymptomatic or mild cases are among the reasons behind this, WHO officials said.

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