110 actors, film workers get COVID shots at MMFF-Mowelfund vaccination campaign launch

Joross Gamboa getting jabbed

An estimated 110 film workers, 40 of whom are artists who are members of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), received their COVID-19 vaccine shots during a vaccination campaign launched last Friday by the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) at the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) auditorium in Makati City.

“It is our hope that when people see the celebrities whom they admire and respect get vaccinated, more of them will believe that having this for themselves is something important as well,” said director-writer Jose Javier Reyes, who attended the launch along with actors JM de Guzman, Marco Alcaraz, Precious Lara Quigaman, Joross Gamboa, Jerome Ponce, Archie Adamos, Joe Gruta, Rolly Inocencio, Joko Diaz, Allan Paule, Jeffrey Santos, Mike Tan, Gab Pangilinan, Myke Salomon, Alora Sasam, Kat Nieto and Karl Medina; as well as directors Ted Boborol, Vince de Jesus and Rich Ilustre.

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Herd immunity

“We want our industry to go back to normal, or the closest to it. This will only happen if we are able to achieve, as a country, what we call herd immunity. Whenever we go out for taping or shooting, or when we go to the studios, we know that the level of infection gets very high. If most of us are already vaccinated, this will lower the danger,” Reyes told Inquirer Entertainment.

Reyes added that a person who agrees to get vaccinated is not merely doing it for himself but for his coworkers as well. “In San Francisco (United States) there are areas where the people are no longer required to wear masks and the cinemas are already operational. Here, hopefully, movie theaters can start operating by November,” he reported.

According to a statement released by the MMFF, the vaccination program is line with the objectives of the festival “to help and provide incentives to its designated beneficiaries in the local film industry such as the Mowelfund, in recognition of the value and importance of the Filipino movie industry in the overall developmental effort of the country.”

Finding the right schedule

The program was launched shortly after the government announced that citizens classified under the A4 group—or those working outside their homes, government employees, informal sector workers, the self-employed who work outside their homes, and those employed in private households—can already avail of the vaccines.

From left: Noel Ferrer, Marco Alcaraz and Precious Lara Quigaman

Actor Rez Cortez, who serves as current president and CEO of Mowelfund, said he was pleased to have found out that a lot of the foundation’s members were interested in getting inoculated. “We didn’t have a hard time. People responded to us quickly. Our only concern now is finding the right schedule for them since some of them are in lock-in shoots and tapings,” he explained.

More opportunities

This is only the beginning, Cortez declared. Another vaccination program will be organized next week and the succeeding ones, “until we are able to fully respond to the demand for vaccines in our industry.”

Cortez added that since the goal is for the entertainment sector to return to normal, their group merely chose to “ignore those who are opposing this project. I am confident that, eventually, they will realize that this is what we need in order to be protected from the virus. The vaccine is safe. We shouldn’t be afraid of it.”

Reyes, who is also a film producer, said he was aware that there are Filipinos who prefer not to get vaccinated. “This is because they listen to rumors. Hopefully, with this campaign, more people will believe in the necessity of vaccines,” he stressed. “I speak for myself when I say that priority will be given to the vaccinated crew because I know that even if I take them outside of their homes, I’m assured that I’m not putting them or their loved ones in any danger. I’m not saying that those without vaccines will not receive job offers, but more opportunities will be given to those who have them because we’re sure that they are protected against the virus.”

Move toward self-love

Asked for his thoughts on the widespread misinformation regarding the vaccine, Reyes said he need not go further. “I have a house-help who must have been speaking with the neighbors when she told me that getting the vaccine will cause infertility to women. There are a lot of Filipinos like her out there. There are also those who say the COVID-19 virus is not real, or that it only infects rich people.”

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Jose Javier Reyes

According to MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer, “there were around 300,000 people from the local film industry who were directly affected by the pandemic. However, if we include other businesses, which are dependent on the movie industry, the total number of individuals affected stands at 500,000.”

next week, the MMDA, organizer of the annual movie event, will launch a vaccination program for the Office of the Ombudsman and PTV 4, Ferrer announced. He added that the vaccines distributed during the weekend were from the Department of Health.

“With this vaccination, we have extra layer of protection not only for us, but for our families and our coworkers and communities. It is an important step to help our lives return to normalcy,” said Noel, who added that he recently succeeded in battling the COVID-19 virus. “My doctor said it was the vaccine that saved me. This is why I am encouraging my colleagues in the industry to all get immunized. This campaign is a move toward self-love. It’s an act of selflessness, responsibility and even nationalism.” INQ

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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