MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday encouraged eligible Filipinos to get coronavirus disease (Covid-19) booster shots despite the decline in Covid-19 cases.

In a Palace briefing, Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said there are around 33.5 million individuals who are qualified to get an additional dose of the approved Covid-19 vaccines as of February 20.

Nograles, however, noted that only 9.7 million have received their booster shots, urging the remaining 23 million to receive supplemental Covid-19 jabs protect themselves against the virus.

"Iniisip siguro ng karamihan: Bakit kailangan nito? Bumababa naman na ang kaso ng Covid-19 sa bansa. (Maybe many think why need booster shots when Covid-19 cases in the country are declining). There is very little risk of getting Covid today," Nograles said.

"Misguided po ang ganitong pananaw. Kailangan pa rin natin ng dagdag na proteksiyon. Ika nga (This observation is misguided. We still need additional protection. As they said), it is better to be safe than sorry," he added.

He said the Covid-19 vaccines being distributed by the government are guaranteed to be of high quality, safe, and effective.

"Ito ay ating panlaban, hindi kalaban. Pansagip ng buhay, pambangon ng kabuhayan. Magpabakuna at magpa-booster shots na po tayo (This is our protection, not enemy. Live saving, to help recovery effort. Get your booster shots)," he said.

In the same media briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said serious Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFIs) are very rare and its current rate is less than 0.00003, as of Feb. 19, 2022. Vergeire also said not all AEFIs are due to vaccines.

The Philippines has so far administered 134,332,014 doses of Covid-19 doses nationwide, with 62,652,101 adult Filipinos now fully vaccinated, including those who received the single-dose Janssen and Sputnik Light jabs.

Meanwhile, 9,781,090 eligible adults acquired booster shots or additional doses as of Monday. (PNA)