2 PH envoys get inoculated vs COVID-19; Filipinos abroad urged to avail of free vaccine
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine ambassadors to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as overseas Filipinos are encouraged to avail of the free vaccinations being offered by the governments of the two countries.
Philippine Ambassador to Bahrain Alfonso Ver said the government of Bahrain is providing free vaccination for everyone, including overseas Filipinos.
“The numbers from Bahrain of repatriates I would say is not that much as compared to others. And one indication is, they are here; they like it here. They have a chance to be regularized here; there are opportunities here. If I may add, the treatment that they have received during this pandemic, they get free testing, free hospitalization, and now, everyone is entitled to free vaccination,” Ver said in an online press briefing from Bahrain on Thursday.
“Ako I have been tested here six times. You just call a number and you get [tested] and even vaccination, na-vaccinate na rin po ako. I just registered to an online app and there is even a choice kung ano ang gusto mong vaccine and in two minutes tapos,” he also said.
He said Filipinos in Bahrain “are safe” amid the pandemic with the benefits that are being provided to them by the government.
“But of course mayroon ding mga nangangailangan at kung kailangan mo we are all ready to bring you home,” he added.
“They are saying that we are very fortunate here. And we are indeed very fortunate here, because of that total situation of the government providing these benefits and the Filipinos knowing that they can take advantage of several avenues official or even on their own or even on their own helping themselves,” Ver further said.
Bahrain earlier officially registered the COVID-19 vaccine of China’s Sinopharm for public use.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto shared photos on Thursday of him receiving the vaccine developed by Pfizer.
Much thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the impressive and orderly vaccination process. I was injected the Pfizer vaccine. Alhamdulillah!!!
Last month, Saudi Arabia began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Answering questions in the comment section, Alonto said the vaccine is free for all. He urged Filipinos there to register on the Sehhaty app to schedule their vaccinations.
Free vaccines lauded
On Sunday, Senator Cynthia Villar lauded the free vaccination programs of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which included Filipinos.
“We welcome the New Year with hope as more countries including our own prepare their respective COVID-19 inoculation campaigns,” she said in a statement.
She noted that Saudi Arabia has put up over 550 vaccination stations in Riyadh with more stations to be set up in all other areas.
“According to Philippine Ambassador Adnan Alonto, the vaccination program against COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia will also cover all our OFWs at the expense of the Saudi government,” the senator said.
Like Alonto, Villar urged overseas overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia to register for vaccination.
Villar said she will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to report on the progress of the COVID-19 inoculation programs in countries with a high concentration of OFWs during the forthcoming Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry into the government’s own vaccination plans.
“As more countries roll out their respective anti-COVID-19 inoculation campaigns, we will see the anxieties of our OFWs and their families ease because the health and safety of our workers will more or less be assured in the coming year,” she said.
The Philippines, Villar said, should now look at how other countries have launched their vaccination drive.
“Let us gather reports from our embassies and start looking at best practices being done by other countries who are now actively setting up inoculation stations for their residents and foreign workers,” she added.
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