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PBBM seen to lift COVID emergency

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Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said on Tuesday that the COVID-19 public health emergency has been “de facto” lifted and only waiting for the formal order from the Palace.

Herbosa told reporters that the lifting of the public health emergency will come soon.

According to Herbosa, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for COVID-19 has already recommended the lifting but believed that the Office of the President is still pondering on the possible consequences. Charles Dantes

“Actually, they (Palace) already recommended, the IATF already recommended the lifting, but I think the Office of the President has to start with some other things that were consequences of the lifting officially,” the Health secretary said.

He added that included in the possible consequence is the possible loss of emergency use authorization (EUA) of bivalents vaccines once the health emergency gets lifted.

Herbosa said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. tasked him to recover from COVID and to get back the economy.

“I think his (Mr. Marcos’s) instruction to me is to really recover from COVID and be able to get back the economy kasi we’ve lost a lot in the economy from the restrictions,” said Herbosa.

Asked what will happen to the monovalent vaccines, the Health secretary said that they will still be distributed and it is still valid as booster doses.

Meanwhile, Herbosa said that the bivalent vaccines will be available commercially as Pfizer was recently awarded a Certificate of Product Registration by the FDA.

“Ang delay lang is that Pfizer is looking for the retailers that have the minus 7D freezers kasi nga it requires storage that has a cold chain (storage),” said Herbosa.

He shared that some hospital pharmacies would possibly shelter the vaccines as they have available minus 7D freezers and it will require a physician’s prescription before anyone can purchase the vaccine.

Negotiation with COVAX for two million doses is still underway to cater to the marginalized sector in the country, said the DOH chief.


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