Some 27 million doses of COVID-19 are set to expire in July, presidential adviser Joey Concepcion said as he urged Filipinos, especially seniors, to get vaccinated, and if eligible, get their booster shots already.
“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,” he added. “Let’s not allow 27 million doses of the COVID vaccine to go to waste.”
As of March 22, some 65,343,446 Filipinos have already 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.
“By the second half of the year, the majority of the population will have waning
Mandatory..immunity. If cases rise, we will lock down again. Unless we finish all the vaccines in stock and booster everybody that needs it, we risk going back to square one by yearend,” Concepcion 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 added.
The Department of Health said it is studying proposals to require a booster shot as part of the primary vaccination series.
“We are studying that. We recognize that boosters are very important,” Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said on Saturday.
“We are currently reviewing if we can include the booster or the third dose as part of the primary series as a requirement to enter workplaces,” she added.
The DOH official also assured the public that expired COVID-19 vaccines would be properly disposed of and incinerated to ensure that no unscrupulous individual would sell them to the public.
“We have what they call reverse logistics so that the vaccine cannot be used anymore. They will put it in a ziplock, make a report, collect the vials, and incinerate it through a third-party provider,” Cabotaje said.