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Herd immunity? Allow private firms to import COVID-19 vaccines tax free, says solon

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 12:07 PM March 20, 2021

Duterte OKs use of 525,600 AstraZeneca vaccines as first dose to health workers

Vials of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at a vaccination centre in Bierset, Belgium March 17, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

 

MANILA, Philippines — To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo on Saturday urged the government to allow private companies to import, tax-free, COVID-19 vaccines for their employees and families.

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 “This is the only way the government can speed up vaccination and attain its goal of achieving herd immunity this year by inoculating at least 70 million of the country’s more than 100-million population,” Castelo said in a statement.

Castelo said the government’s national vaccination task force should hasten the forging of tripartite arrangements with private companies and even local government units (LGUs) keen on procuring their own vaccines.

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“The task force should quickly enter into such agreement with any private business owner or LGU wanting to bring in the jabs. Otherwise, achieving herd immunity so we can all return to normal life is asking for the moon,” she said.

Castelo said despite the vaccination rollout that started three weeks ago, which includes 600,000 doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech and 525,600 doses from AstraZeneca provided by theWorld Health Organization, the country’s vaccination program is still progressing at a “snail’s pace.”

FIRST IN LINE Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, director of Philippine General Hospital, is first to receive the China-donated CoronaVac as the Philippines rolled out its vaccination drive earlier this month.  At right, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., who is also head of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, joins government officials inoculated during simultaneous programs in several hospitals in Metro Manila. (PHOTOS COURTESY OFMANILA PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE AND PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE)

 “At that rate, it would take years, perhaps decades, before the government can meet its target of vaccinating at least 70 million Filipinos,” Castelo stressed.

By allowing the importation of COVID-19 vaccine, it would “greatly hasten the country’s vaccination program, Castelo said

“These companies are willing to do it at their own expense. The government will not be spending for their vaccine procurement,” she said.

 As of March 17, the national government has vaccinated 240,297 medical frontliners, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccine, nCoV update, Precious Hipolito-Castelo
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