Covid booster shots eyed for priority sectors before 2022 polls

By Lade Jean Kabagani

September 23, 2021, 6:25 pm

<p><em>(file photo)</em></p>

(file photo)

MANILA – The government is mulling to start the administration of Covid-19 booster shots to priority sectors before the May 2022 national and local elections.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, said part of the government's second phase of vaccine procurement is to acquire reformulated booster jabs for use of those vulnerable sectors -- primarily the healthcare workers.

"Pinaplano na rin po natin 'yung ano pagdating po ng eleksyon na kailangan by February, matapos na po tayo lahat-lahat or at least 90 percent (We are also planning to finish the inoculation of at least 90 percent by February or before the elections)," Galvez reported to President Rodrigo Duterte during prerecorded Talk to the People on Wednesday night.

The government is now readying the procurement of the next-generation vaccine boosters which will extend the efficacy of the Covid-19 jabs to fight emerging coronavirus variants.

"Before the election, at least 'yung mga dapat mag-boosters, makapag-boosters na rin po. Before election dapat protektado na po lahat ang mga Pilipino (Before the elections, at least those who should be given booster shots, will get their booster shots. Everyone should be protected before the elections)," Galvez said.

Galvez earlier said the government is negotiating with four manufacturers for the acquisition of reformulated booster shots.

He said initial deals have been made with the government's multilateral partners World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for the second wave of vaccine procurement.

The government has initially earmarked a USD45 million (around PHP2.2 billion) budget for the 2022 vaccine supply. (PNA)