Due to the unstable supply of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, Malacañang on Thursday reiterated the need to raise the country’s vaccination rate before administering booster shots.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the country has administered a total of 34,112,320 Covid-19 jabs as of September 1.
Of this number, 14,109,916 or 18.29 percent of the target population are fully vaccinated.
“Sa ngayon po, nandun pa tayo sa pagbabakuna sa buong Pilipinas. Parang kung tama po ang figure ko nationally, 18.29 percent pa lang po tayo nationally so tsaka na natin pag-usapan ang mga booster shots (At present, we are still focused on vaccinating the entire Philippines. If I remember correctly, only 18.29 percent have been fully vaccinated nationally so we can talk about booster shots some other time),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
However, he assured that the government has already allocated funds for the procurement of booster shots in 2022.
“All I can say is that it is in our proposed budget. Even without approval, pupuwede naman iprocure na ‘yan (We can procure that),” he added.
The Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier said there is still a lack of evidence showing the ability of booster shots to strengthen immunity against Covid-19.
In a House health committee hearing on Wednesday, the DOH presented its PHP242.22 billion budget proposal for 2022.
The DOH budget has allocated PHP45.4 billion to buy booster shots.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that booster shots for fully vaccinated Filipinos will start to be administered once there is a recommendation from the Health Technology Assessment Council.
The government initially planned to vaccinate up to 70 million people to achieve population protection by yearend.
However, it adjusted its target from attaining herd immunity to population protection by inoculating 50 to 60 percent of the population with a concentration in Metro Manila, two other cities, and six provinces by yearend.
National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that getting more than the required number of jabs is both “illegal and immoral.”
He lamented that residents in far-flung areas or geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas have yet to get their initial doses. (PNA)