To protect members of the workforce from rising COVID cases, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion continues to urge the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to allow second booster vaccinations, stressing that over 1.5 million vaccine doses bought by the private sector are set to expire by the end of the month.
Concepcion added that the expiring vaccines were acquired by the private sector through the A Dose of Hope tripartite agreement, where half of the vaccines acquired are shared with the government.
Each AstraZeneca jab is estimated to cost at least $5, while Moderna shots were bought for around $27 for each dose. Of the total expiring vaccines in warehouses, 628,680 doses are AstraZeneca, while 887,360 doses are Moderna.
On another note, Iloilo Rep. and former Health Secretary Janette Garin also pushed for second booster against COVID-19 among the general population, instead of having these vaccines going to waste.
Garin underscored that private employees already want to get their second booster “but it seems those making decision on this do not have sense of urgency.”
“We asked the private sector to buy the vaccines but now they are given difficulties in using the vaccines that they bought. Do we want the people to get vaccinated illegally? … Clamor to allow a second booster has been there for months. But it seems nobody is listening,” she said.
Currently, second booster is allowed only among health care workers, senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals.
According to Garin, only 152,012,792 of the 245,233,560 vaccines procured by the government have been utilized. Aside from the four million expiring vaccines in the private sector, there are 23 million doses donated and procured by the government that are also set to expire.
Garin also warned of another major surge in COVID-19 cases if booster shots are not administered the soonest, even if the country has already achieved herd immunity with regard to the first two doses.
Garin acknowledged that while about 71.6 million Filipinos have already been vaccinated with the primary series or the first two doses, thereby achieving herd immunity, only 15 million got their booster jabs, leaving 56 million Filipinos more still unprotected.
With additional reports: The Philippine Star, Delon Porcalla, Catherine Talavera, Sheila Crisostomo, Rhodina Villanueva