(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The country’s vaccine czar has appealed to the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to hasten the approval of second booster shots administration to more vulnerable sectors and include other priority sectors in their recommendation.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People aired on Wednesday, National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. cited the need to fast-track the vaccination of booster shots to other vulnerable sectors such as healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities amid the threat of waning immunity vaccines and a possible surge of cases.

“Because of the current urgency of the situation, we are appealing to the HTAC to expedite the inclusion of health care workers, seniors and other vulnerable sectors para po mapataas significantly ang ating bakunahan (so that we can significantly increase our vaccination coverage)” he said.

Galvez said the HTAC and the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should also consider giving second booster doses to overseas Filipino workers, seafarers, and uniformed personnel.

“HTAC/FDA should also look and include the seafarers, OFWs and uniformed personnel to be included in the priority due to their long duration deployment to [high-risk] and vulnerable areas,” he said.

To date, 2,108 fully vaccinated immunocompromised individuals have received second booster shots since its official rollout on Monday.

The Philippines has so administered a total of 146,227,002 Covid-19 doses nationwide, with 67,640,431 individuals having full primary series and 13,043,715 fully vaccinated having first booster shots. (PNA)