Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Church in the country, has assured the government of the Church’s support for the vaccination program against COVID-19.
“If we need to take the vaccine publicly to increase the public’s confidence on the vaccination program, as bishops, we have agreed to do it,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, chairman of the social action secretariat of the bishops’ conference.
Father Antonio Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said the bishops have also offered church facilities to local government units and the Health department for use during the vaccination campaign.
“Our health workers are likewise assisting the program across the country with the aim of helping our government tackle the pandemic more efficiently and effectively,” said Father Labiao.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines through the Episcopal Commission on Health Care has been conducting online information campaigns about on coronavirus disease and the vaccines.
Bishop Bagaforo, however, said that while the Church leaders are giving its support to the program, the government must also “strive to gain the public’s trust by providing consistent and easy-to-understand messages on the vaccine.”
“It is very important that our government show transparency and reliability. If it fails to do so, then skepticism will grow and so does our problems,” said the prelate.
On February 28, 2021, half a million doses of Sinovac vaccines arrived in the Philippines from China.
A independent survey done by Octa Research, however, showed that 46 percent of Filipinos are unwilling to be vaccinated due to safety concerns.
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