Manitoba

Winnipeg Filipino couple write Tagalog song about importance of getting COVID-19 vaccine

Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. and his wife, Catherine, posted the song to Facebook last week.

Married couple Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. and Catherine Ofiaza posted song to Facebook last week

Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. and his wife, Catherine Ofiaza, have recorded a song in Tagalog about the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. (Ernesto Ofiaza Jr./Facebook)

A Filipino couple from Winnipeg is using the power of song to encourage others to get their COVID-19 vaccine. 

Married couple Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. and Catherine Ofiaza perform the song in Tagalog.

Their song's Tagalog title is Kabarangay Magpabakuna Na, which translates in English to Fellow Community Members, Get Vaccinated Now

Ofiaza wrote the lyrics about the importance of getting vaccinated, which are performed to the tune of old Filipino folk song.

Watch Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. and Catherine Ofiaza perform their song below: 

Speaking with Information Radio guest host Faith Fundal, Erneso said the song was their way of contributing to Manitoba's immunization campaign by encouraging his kababayans — or fellow Filipinos — to get their shot. 

"For me, it's a possible way of getting them involved in getting them vaccinated," he said. 

A provincial report released in March found Filipino people in Manitoba were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. While making up seven per cent of the population, Filipino Manitobans made up 12 per cent of cases at that point, according to the report.

The song is now making the rounds on Facebook since Ofiaza posted a video of him and his wife singing it last week. He says the response so far has been great. 

"They said it's a good song and the lyrics are so meaningful, and likewise it's them being reminded to get the vaccine," he said.

LISTEN | Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. talks about his song encouraging people to get vaccinated: 

Manitoba couple Ernesto Ofiaza Jr. and his wife, Catherine, posted their song Ka barangay Magpabakuna Na! (which translates as Fellow Community Members, Get Vaccinated Now!) on Facebook. Guest host Faith Fundal spoke with Ernesto about why they created the song. 4:55

As of Wednesday, 60 per cent of Manitobans 18 and older had received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to provincial data. For Manitobans 12 and up, the rate is just under 56 per cent.

All Manitobans 12 and up are now eligible to get a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday, the province opened up second dose eligibility to anyone who got a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine on March 29 or earlier.

With files from Faith Fundal

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