Go urges concerned agencies to prepare vaccination plan for boosters

Go urges concerned agencies to prepare vaccination plan for boosters

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “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 on
Monday, October 25, 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. (AI/MTVN)

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