Silence and emptiness – that’s how everything appeared to be when the pandemic began. Lives and living were lost, and no ray of hope seemed to pierce through our collective fear and grief as COVID-19 cases kept rising.

When Relief International, an NGO helping DOH with UNICEF to increase the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19, was going door to door in a community, they met Demetrio Fuentes, a 57-year-old driver.

herd immunity

DEMETRIO ON THE NEED TO GET VACCINATED

Demetrio is one of the many Filipinos whose livelihood has been severely affected by the pandemic. However, despite his unfortunate situation, he knows that there is something that ordinary citizens like him can do to curb the health crisis brought about by COVID-19.

“I got myself vaccinated against COVID-19 because I wanted to protect myself and my family,” Demetrio said. He also urges his fellow drivers to get inoculated. “Get vaccinated. It is not only for yourself and for your family, but also for the welfare of our passengers.”

Demetrio added that government assistance is insufficient. “The aid we receive, which we use to buy a sack of rice and groceries, only lasts for two weeks. We survive from the government’s SAP grant and the LGU’s provision of food items, but there was also a time when I posted on Facebook if people could help me because we no longer had anything to eat.”


When asked how the people can help the government against the COVID-19, Demetrio said that “people’s movement should be restricted (to control the virus). We should also wear a face mask and face shield at all times. This is to help the economy recover and make lockdowns unnecessary.”

This Christmas, Demetrio’s wish is simple: for life to go back to normal again in the country.

BE THE SOLUTION THROUGH BIDA SOLUSYON

The story of Demetrio Fuentes is one that inspires amid the bleak times. It is the reflection of the Filipino people’s resilience in the face of uncertainty.

However, our survival must not end with resilience. We need to come together and work on concrete measures.

The BIDA Solusyon + sa COVID-19, the Department of Health’s information campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic, is an example of a concrete measure. The campaign intends to motivate Filipinos to participate actively in the fight against COVID-19 by implementing the minimum public health standards, which can be summed up in four letters: Bawal walang mask, Isanitize ang mga kamay, iwas-hawak sa mga bagay, Dumistansya ng isang metro, at Alamin ang totoong impormasyon.

VACCINES FOR 12-17 YEARS OLD WITH COMORBIDITY, PREGNANT WOMEN AND NURSING MOMS

Presently, we are seeing that the DOH program is effective as more people in communities are getting vaccinated. To further bolster the benefits of vaccination, it has also been expanded to include 12 to 17 year olds at high risk for COVID-19. Parents are invited to accompany their children so that they can be protected. This follows the explanation that it is safe for nursing and pregnant mothers to get vaccinated.

RELIEF ON GROUND

Relief International (RI) is a champion of BIDA Solusyon. A registered non-profit whose work provides critical health and nutrition, education, economic, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services for people living in the world’s most fragile settings, RI in partnership with UNICEF is fully behind the DOH’s campaign as it is aligned with the organization’s critical aid and development programs.

Through its Risk Communication and Community engagement work, RI is able to promote vaccination through group learning sessions, in which the communities understand that the vaccine is safe and life-saving for everyone; capacitating health workers and other front-liners on emerging communications strategies and techniques on the effective delivery of COVID-19 messages; providing technical assistance by helping LGUs with their programs; and showing support and spreading relevant information in mass media. RI also builds partnerships that help augment the conversation on COVID-19, and currently, they are working with KonsultaMD on their 1 month free consultations [FREE VOUCHER CODE: FREEKONSULTA].

By becoming instrumental in achieving herd immunity in the country, we can truly help people like Demetrio Fuentes get back on their feet.

For more information on the vaccine, please contact your LGU. Register to get vaccinated!