Angara to gov’t: Consider call of business groups on booster shots

Dr. Glenn Mathew Baggao, chief of the Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC), gets his booster shot of Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 on Wednesday, Nov. 17. (Photo courtesy of CVMC photo)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sonny Angara on Wednesday backed the private sector’s call to provide booster shots for employees, noting the country’s steady supply of  COVID-19 vaccines.

Citing the government’s own pronouncement that there is no longer shortage of COVID-19 vaccines supply, 26 business groups have earlier requested that they be allowed access to their “large stockpile” of vaccines which they can use as booster shots for their employees and their families.

Angara said the appeal is “reasonable” especially in light of various reports that there are already vaccines expiring supposedly due to logistical issues, slow administration, and vaccine hesitancy particularly in areas outside of Metro Manila.

“The country now has a steady supply of vaccines and the volume will continue to increase over the next few months. The private sector played a huge part in making this happen with its purchases in parallel with the government’s own,” Angara said in a statement.

“We understand that there is still a huge portion of our adult population that remains unvaccinated. We reiterate our call for all Filipinos to get these life-saving vaccines.”

“But when we have a situation where vaccines are available and are about to expire, then we should consider the call of the private sector, who are prepared to use them right away,” the chairman of the Senate committee on finance said.

In rejecting the call of the private sector, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. asserted the government’s “moral and mandatory” obligation to prioritize the vaccination of Filipinos who have not even received a single dose.

But if the booster shots would give workers greater protection against the coronavirus, then the request should be considered, Angara insisted.

“A lot of data has already been made available regarding the administration of booster shots to vaccinated individuals. If this will give our workforce greater protection against COVID-19 then this should be considered,” he said.

“The Department of Health and our Vaccine Czar should have an idea of the current supply of vaccines. If there is enough to accommodate the request of the private sector, then this should be done as soon as possible,” the senator stressed.

/MUF

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