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Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said that opposition to the requirement of booster cards in public spaces is understandable, but he believes that it can be prioritized in highly vaccinated areas. He maintains, however, that it will be inevitable as the government will want to maintain the population’s protection against Covid.
“I understand that some areas may be having logistical problems and it is quite unfair to require it of people who have no access to boosters yet,” he said. However, the Go Negosyo founder said that areas where most of the population have already completed their primary doses are at risk if they do not start rolling out their booster shots soon.
It has been found that the efficacy of most Covid vaccines wane within four to six months after the second dose, making booster shots essential if population protection is to be maintained.
Concepcion said that the National Capital Region (NCR) should be first to roll out the booster card requirement, with other LGUs to follow suit as they vaccinate more of their population.
“The booster card requirement makes sense in the NCR because they received their primary doses ahead of the rest of the Philippines. However, they are also at higher risk from waning immunity and must be encouraged to get their booster shots right away,” he said.
“It will be up to the IATF to give guidance as to how the booster card requirement can be implemented,“ he said. “But the reality is that the vaccine’s efficacy will wane and we don’t want to risk seeing more cases that could easily have been prevented by encouraging people to get boostered,” he said.
Covid vaccines are currently being given free of charge. But with vaccinations estimated to cost as much as Php2,400 once commercially available, it is feared that this may be out of the reach of ordinary Filipinos, making it harder to achieve immunity for the larger population should the Philippines fail to achieve its target vaccination rates before procured and donated vaccines expire.
Last November, the Philippine government’s Vaccine Expert Panel said that frontliners, who were vaccinated first in March and April, would be vulnerable by November and December as early data showed waning efficacy at six months. Later on, the government approved booster shots for those whose second doses were given as short as three months prior.
Vaccination cards are currently being required for entry in public spaces where there is a higher risk of transmission.