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Gov’t asked to let private sector tap its COVID jabs stock as booster shots for workers

/ 06:50 PM November 23, 2021
Gov't asked to let private sector tap its COVID jabs stock as booster shots for workers

FILE PHOTO: A health worker prepares a dose of the BioNTech Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination for seafarers at a stadium in Manila on July 15, 2021. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines — Some 26 business groups have called on the national government to allow the private sector access to its “large stockpile” of COVID-19 vaccines which they can use as booster shots to protect employees and their families.

In a joint statement issued Tuesday, the groups said the government has no reason now to withhold their share of the coronavirus vaccine inventory especially that it already admitted having an increasing supply of the shots.

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“We fully understand the need to prioritize certain sectors when vaccines are scarce, but the government has announced that its stockpile of vaccines has now reached close to and continues to increase, as the vaccines are arriving faster than they can be dispensed,” they said.

“We no longer have a shortage, and with such a large stockpile, we risk having vaccines expire and go to waste,” they added.

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The groups pointed out that the private sector also purchased the vaccines “to help the government vaccinate as many as possible as soon as possible.”

“With the oversupply, the private sector asks the government to allow it to use these vaccines to take care of their employees and dependents as their contribution to accelerating national vaccination,” they said.

“We thus enjoin the government to immediately allow the private sector to use its vaccines,” they also said.

The business groups even pointed out that while COVID-19 infection and healthcare utilization rates decline which led to the reopening of the economy, studies have shown that vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 wanes after six months.

“And without boosters, we increase the risk of another surge which could again shut down the economy,” they said.

The Department of Health recently approved the administration of booster shots in a phased approach. First in line for booster doses were medical frontliners, who started receiving it on November 17, followed by senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, who started getting it on November 22.

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