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Galvez to visit Zamboanga and Basilan to urge Muslims to get vaccinated

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Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. attends a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and key members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Sept. 2, 2021, at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City. (File photo by ARMAN BAYLON / Presidential Photographers Division)

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the National Vaccine Officer, is due to travel to Zamboanga and Basilan where he will try to convince the Muslim community to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Galvez made the announcement during the weekly taped “Speak to the People” briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte that aired Monday night.

As he pointed out to Duterte, the lowest vaccination rate recorded on Tuesday is in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where only 1.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have so far been administered.

“Tomorrow, Mr. President, with your advice, I will go to Zamboanga where the children will be vaccinated,” Galvez said, speaking in Filipino. “And I will also go to Basilan so that we can encourage our Muslim brothers to get vaccinated.”

” The hesitation [to get vaccinated there] is so strong. So what will we do, with the directive of [Health Secretary Francisco Duque III] and the national working group [Against COVID-19]will we go to Zamboanga and Basilan areas,” he added.

Duterte said earlier that Muslim communities in Mindanao were resisting vaccination against COVID-19.

“I think in the Muslim community here in the Philippines, it seems like most of them believe it’s not allowed by their – I don’t know – is that religion? I might be wrong, but it could be that or something else in their culture,” Duterte said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.

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