BUTUAN CITY, March 3 (PIA) -- With the vaccine rollout for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) expected to commence in the incoming months in Caraga, the Regional Task Force against COVID-19 One Caraga Shield (RTF-COCS) vows to intensify its efforts to educate the public on the COVID-19 vaccines and the government's actions to have every Filipino be vaccinated against the deadly disease.
"Ang pinaka importante actually right now, ang pinaka challenge is pag-increase ng confidence level [of the public]. Information dissemination is very important, that's the real key," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles during the Caraga Regional Task Force against Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) 1st Quarter Full Council Meeting for CY 2021 on Wednesday, February 24, who also acts as the Cabinet Office for Regional Development (CORDS) of Caraga region.
Per the data on the Regional Readiness Assessment, the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga reports that as of February 17, all five provincial governments and the city government of Butuan has only reached 50% of the total target in terms of demand generation, social mobilization, and communication for the COVID-19 vaccine deployment.
This prompted the provincial government of Agusan del Norte to take further steps to intensify its information drive.
"Usa sa among concern is kining mga agam-agam sa mga tao, mga kahadlok, that's why in the province, we are creating a team na muconduct ug massive information drive, of course, with the guidance from DOH para masabtan sa atong mga tao na importante kini na kalihukan [One of our concerns is the speculation and fear of the people (on the vaccines) that's why in the province, we are creating a team that will conduct massive information drive, of course, with the guidance from the DOH so that people will understand the importance of this initiative]," said Agusan del Norte Provincial Governor Dale Corvera.
In addition, the provincial government will provide P1 million to each local government unit in the province to support their efforts for the COVID-19 vaccination.
The DOH Caraga also continues to spearhead the production of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials for the vaccination program.
"On-going na po ang ano natin [production ng] mga IEC materials, mga tarpaulins for this coming vaccination," said Ma. Jasmine Sarce, the National Coordinator for the COVID-19 vaccines.
In addition to the IEC materials provided by the national office, DOH Caraga is also producing localized information materials for residents in Caraga. As of writing, a Bisaya version of the "COVID-19 Vaccination 10 Must Know" is under production.
Meanwhile, Gov. Corvera also stressed the importance of public figures getting involved personally in the COVID-19 vaccination program.
"Ako gani, as local chief executive, kung dawaton ko sa DOH, pwede ko magpauna ug bakuna kay para kita na mga influencer dapat makita sa mga tao na wa ta mahadlok arun sila, musunod napud (sa pagpabakuna). [As a local chief executive, I am willing to receive the first jab of the vaccines, if the DOH will permit, so that the public will see that there is nothing to fear (about the vaccines) and that they will follow]," he added.
CabSec Nograles is also optimistic that public confidence on the vaccines will increase, especially now that the vaccine rollout in some regions have already begun.
"Ito yung magiging premise, yung makikita sa mga tao [yung pagbabakuna]. 'To see is to believe,' ika nga. Nevertheless, ipagpatuloy pa rin natin yung mga planong inihanda ng mga LGUs, ng DOH para sa information dissemination," said CabSec Nograles. (DMNR/PIA-Caraga)