By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Now that the country has a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Senator Sonny Angara today backed the call of the private sector to provide booster shots for its employees.
Angara, who steered the passage of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act as its sponsor in the Senate, said that the country appears to have enough supply of vaccines to cover the priority sectors and the booster shots for private-sector employees.
In a joint statement issued by business organizations, which include some of the country’s biggest employers, they asked the government to allow the private sector to use the COVID-19 vaccines it purchased as booster shots for its employees and their families.
With the current oversupply of vaccines in the country, the private sector called on the government to allow the use of the vaccines “to take care of their employees and dependents as their contribution to accelerating national vaccination.”
Angara said the appeal of the private sector is reasonable, more so in light of the numerous reports of vaccines that are about to expire in different areas of the country.
The reasons vary from 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.
“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,” Angara added.
The Senator noted how businesses, big and small, have all been affected by the pandemic over the past year and a half due to the lockdowns, restrictions on mobility and the strict regulation on operations imposed by the government.
Now the economy has started to show some life and according to Angara, the vaccination of more people, especially those in the highly urbanized areas, has contributed a lot to this development.
“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,” Angara 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,” he added. (ai/mtvn)