HOUSE committee on ways and means chairman and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has proposed barangay-level and family-level incentives “that could achieve herd immunity, and for families that could have all eligible members vaccinated.”
Salceda also said that “barangay health workers should also have bonuses and incentives for bringing in certain percentages of unvaccinated individuals to the vaccination stations. After all, they are extremely underpaid and are the backbone of local (coronavirus disease 2019) COVID-19 response.”
Salceda made the call for such incentives in the face of rising infection rates for COVID-19, possibly due to community transmission of the Omicron variant of the pandemic.
Salceda also said that “the most crucial community-level vaccine targets would be to build ‘vaccination walls’ or high rates of vaccination around ports, airports, and business districts to prevent spillover infection.”
“That is why we are proud that the 2022 national budget contains a P50 billion special risk allowance. I will fight to have BHWs included in the SRA guidelines. Before cases reach nurses and doctors, hopefully we can already keep them low at the BHW level. That’s why well-equipped, well-paid BHWs will be helpful to our doctors and nurses,” Salceda said.
Salceda also said that his district is preparing for what could be ‘its biggest wave yet, by number of infected, although probably smaller by number of hospitalized.’
“I have already requested the same incentives and interventions from municipalities and cities in my district. We were a model for COVID response as touted by the DoH (Department of Health) during the April to June wave. We hope to remain one during this likely Omicron wave.”
“We are already anticipating that the district will see an almost vertical surge of infections within one week. No wishful thinking for us, we are trying to get as ready as possible,” Salceda said.
Salceda also said that “although this variant is less lethal than Delta, high infectivity could fill hospitals and treatment facilities very quickly, and lack of medical attention could be what kills patients. So we have to prepare our treatment centers for what is hopefully the final big wave of this pandemic.”
“In my district, we are preparing to once again make our main hospital, the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, a COVID only facility to maximize treatment capacity. If the models are correct and what we are observing with NCR (National Capital Region) data holds for other regions, this will be a very high surge, potentially bigger than Delta in number of infected,” Salceda said.
“As long as it remains a non-lethal strain, however, it should not be paralyzing for the economy. So, again, treatment and vaccination are the key pillar of keeping both health and economy in good shape,” Salceda added.