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“Let’s not allow 27 million doses of the Covid vaccine to go to waste.” This was the appeal of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion as he shared that some 27 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines are set to expire in July this year. With this, he emphasized the urgency for Filipinos to go and get vaccinated and if already eligible, get their booster shots. The Go Negosyo founder has been pushing for mandatory booster cards by June this year in order to encourage Filipinos to get their booster shots.
“Time is of the essence. This is why I am calling it out now while there is still time before these vaccines expire. If we don’t use these vaccines, we will have wasted the FIlipino taxpayers’ money,” he said. “It’s money the Philippines can’t afford to waste.” Concepcion pointed out that the country has recently breached the Php12-trillion mark in its debt for the first time, primarily due to massive borrowing in the last two years for its pandemic response efforts.
“Both government and the private sector bought these vaccines for our citizens,” he said. The Philippines has borrowed Php2 trillion pesos, much of it going to vaccines. The Philippines has so far received more than 237 million vaccine doses, with some 140.7 million already administered. As of March 22, there are 65,343,446 Filipinos who have been fully vaccinated, but only 11,629,565 additional or booster shots have been administered. This means only some 13 percent of the eligible population have received their booster shots.
“We in the private sector bought our own supplies through the A Dose of Hope tripartite agreement, and we shared these with the government because we know that vaccines are the solution to battling this pandemic,” he said. “We wouldn’t have managed to keep our hospitalization rates low and open up the economy without the vaccines,” he said.
Concepcion further added that the Philippines is now one of the countries in Asia that is enjoying low average daily attack rates, or the seven-day average number of cases per 100,000, and healthcare utilization remains low. He warned, though, that a double-whammy awaits should Filipinos let down their guard.
“By the second half of the year, the majority of the population will have waning immunity. If cases rise, we will lock down again. And if the conflict in the Ukraine drags on, we will lock down in the midst of rising commodity prices and logjams in the supply chain. Unless we finish all the vaccines in stock and booster everybody that needs it, we risk going back to square one by yearend,” he said.
“We need to push a little, and we need to do the groundwork now. People have become complacent and no longer feel that they need to booster. What they do not see is that the real danger is in the second half of the year,” he said.