MANILA — The popular island of Boracay is offering coronavirus booster shots to local and foreign tourists.
During the launch of Resbakuna sa Botika and Resbakuna Kids in Boracay on Friday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said tourists can avail of free booster shots against COVID-19 while enjoying their vacation.
"Ang maganda, pupunta lang sila dito, tapos libre pa ang booster. [Mayroon pang] sand, beach, napakasarap na pagkain at bakunado lahat ng tao," she said.
According to Puyat, around 1,000 tourists were expected to arrive in the country until Friday after the government reopened the country's borders to fully vaccinated foreign travelers.
Boracay requires negative RT-PCR test results and proof of vaccination from foreigners, the same requirements it asks from local tourists.
"Ang maganda sa Boracay, 100% vaccinated ang population at ang tourism workers ay walang vaccine hesitancy,” Puyat said.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, meanwhile, said that Boracay can serve as a role model for other tourist destinations and areas in the country due to its vaccination rollout and coverage.
"You now harvest the fruits of your labor, first time now that we heard na zero ang COVID-19 cases dito. Despite the movement of people, talagang nakikita natin ‘yung effect ng vaccine na it really saves lives and prevents severe [cases] and hospitalization," Galvez said.
"Dahil 100% na ang ating vaccination dito, we encourage the people of Boracay and Aklan, na kayo ulit ang maging model ng 100% na boosted [population]."
Officials earlier projected that it will take five years before Boracay recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that nearly half of 314 accredited establishments have temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
They said that the island, which has a population that relies mainly on tourism for their livelihood, needs foreign tourists to recover from the pandemic.