Concepcion pushes booster cards: Require them starting June
Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion proposed that booster cards be the new requirement for entry in enclosed establishments, saying its implementation could start in June this year to give people enough time to get their shots.
“We do not implement it right away,” Concepcion said in a statement on Thursday. “I understand it will take time for them to get the booster, but considering that vaccines are now more accessible, people are free to move around, and we have adequate supply, I think two and a half months, or until June, would be enough time to take the boosters.”
“We need this push,” he added.
Concepcion said that while there was no risk at the moment of another surge in COVID-19 cases, “the danger is in the next semester when the waning immunity might be felt already. And this is not counting the possibility that new variants might emerge.”
Existing health protocols require business establishments to allow customers inside enclosed stores or dining and entertainment venues only after presenting their vaccination cards.
The plan is to make booster cards the new requirement in lieu of vaccination cards.
While the country has vaccinated about 70 percent of its population, the Department of Health (DOH) earlier noted that 33 million Filipinos eligible for COVID-19 booster shots have yet to receive the additional vaccine dose.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, only 11.8 million out of 45 million Filipinos who were already eligible for booster shots have so far received an additional COVID-19 vaccine jab.
“Our eligible population for our booster shot is about 45 million. That would be less the pediatric population and the adolescents. So we have about 33 million still to receive their booster shots who are already eligible,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s “Headstart.”
Vergeire said the DOH conducted “small studies or surveys” to identify why some fully vaccinated people were not taking booster shots.
She said the DOH found out that some people believed they already have enough protection against COVID-19 because they have been fully vaccinated and have natural immunity from coronavirus infection.
“But I just want to inform everybody that immunity wanes,” the official noted.
“Both the natural immunity and the immunity coming from our vaccines wane over time. That’s why we are offering the boosters because based on studies, it gives you additional protection, especially for severe [infection], deaths and hospitalizations,” she added.
Based on government guidelines, COVID-19 booster shots may be given to adults at least three months after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or at least two months after the administration of a one-dose vaccine.
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