DTI chief says vaccination saves lives and jobs

‘RESBAKUNA SA BOTIKA’. Commerce Secretary Ramon Lopez delivers his message at the launch of “Resbakuna sa Botika” at the Southstar Drug branch on Bayan-Bayanan Ave. at Barangay Concepcion Uno, Marikina City, Thursday, January 20, 2022. The new vaccination initiative aims to bring booster shots closer to the public. (PTV screenshot)

MANILA – Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez believes that vaccines will not only save lives during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, but also jobs for Filipinos.

At the launch of “Resbakuna sa Botika” at Southstar Drug in Marikina City on Thursday, Lopez stressed the critical role of vaccines in helping the economy stay open despite rising Covid-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.

“We now see at Omicron, cases have risen to 35,000 but only below 2,000 are serious and critical. During Delta (surge), it immediately went to 3,000 to 4,000 cases, but now it’s only 2,000,” he said in Filipino.

Government data shows that as of January 16 around 1,780 cases were severe and critical despite active Covid-19 cases reaching 287,856.

During this period, the country achieved its goal of fully vaccinating 54 million people.

Last September 9, when the country experienced a peak in cases due to the Delta strain, active cases reached 166,672 with 3,473 severe and critical cases.

Lopez said the country can now afford to remain at Alert Level 3 due to the higher vaccination rate despite the Omicron push, as health facilities are not congested.

“If our hospitals are not full, we will not close. When there is no containment, employment continues, growth and the reopening of our economy continue,” he added.

The DTI chief also urged Filipinos to take advantage of booster shots now freely available at pharmacies in Metro Manila through the new “Resbakuna sa Botika”.

On Thursday, the government and partner pharmacy pilot project tested ‘Resbakuna sa Botika’ in the National Capital Region, bringing the public closer to booster shots.

The government aims to extend this initiative to the whole country after a week of piloting. (NAP)

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