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Bong Go: Prepare vax plan for boosters
SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go reiterated his appeal to the government to finalize the plans for the rollout of booster shots following the announcement that the Department of Health has approved providing booster shots for priority groups.
During President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk To The People briefing, National Task Force COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. disclosed that the emergency use authorization of the vaccines have to be amended and expanded to include the use of a third dose before the government can proceed with the next phase of inoculations.
“Alam po ni Senator Bong Go na marami pong mga ospital ang humihingi ng tulong sa kanya para magkaroon ng boosters ang ating mga healthcare workers… Ang pinaka-priorities natin ‘yung healthcare workers at saka immunocompromised and then the elderlies,” said Galvez.
“Ang supply requirement at saka ‘yung secured doses natin (para) sa healthcare workers, we will allot more or less two million doses … Regardless of the brand, mayroon tayo na nakatabi. And then for the immunocompromised and elderly, we will be requiring five million. We (will) have also enough doses with the succeeding deliveries,” he reassured.
In his appeal, the senator, who heads the Senate Committee on Health, earlier said that the government should consider providing booster shots considering the emergence of different variants of COVID-19.
“Importanteng paghandaan na natin ito. Baka kailanganin natin ng booster lalo na dahil sa mga naglalabasang variants. Dapat din natin masiguro na may sapat na pondo dahil tuluy-tuloy ang pagbabakuna natin hanggang sa susunod na taon,” Go warned during the deliberation of the 2022 budget of the Department of Health last October 13.
Around P45.4 billion has been included in the Unprogrammed Fund for the purchase of the booster shots.
Go made it clear, however, that the government should continue to quickly deploy vaccines outside Metro Manila and complete the vaccination of the target population, particularly the elderly and persons with comorbidities, in the capital while providing the booster shots.
As of October 25, the government has secured some 187.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 97.7 million of which have already arrived in the country. A total of 56.2 million Filipinos have been vaccinated, including more than 30 million who got their first dose and an additional 25.9 million individuals who have been fully vaccinated.
Secretary Galvez explained that the country’s vaccination strategy will be recalibrated in the fourth quarter of 2021 to focus on vaccinating the unvaccinated target groups. This will include ramping up inoculations of children and students; aggressive house to house vaccinations; and local government units increasing their first dose coverage to 70% by the end of November.
Other focus areas will include accelerating the vaccination of key cities and economic hubs; administering third doses to healthcare workers and other vulnerable sectors; and inoculating up to 90% of students, teachers and teaching personnel before the end of the same month.
Meanwhile, to secure a safe Christmas and national elections, the government aims to vaccinate at least 50 million of the priority population before Christmas, 70% of the population in the National Capital Region Plus 10 areas, and at least 70% of the total population before the election period.
“I urge my fellow government workers, especially our local chief executives, to ensure the continuous deployment of the vaccines. Let us take it upon ourselves to bring the vaccine rollout closer to those who may have trouble getting them, such as the elderly and persons with disabilities who cannot leave their homes, and the people who live in rural and hard-to-reach areas,” appealed Go.
“The vaccine is the key to us eventually returning to normalcy, achieving herd immunity in the community, and in overcoming this pandemic at the soonest possible time. So let us continue to work together and cooperate with the government so we can fully heal and recover as one nation,” he ended.