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NG told: Allow private sector to procure Covid-19 vaccines

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To sustain the momentum of Covid-19 vaccination, the leader of the House of Representatives on Monday urged the national government (NG) to give the private sector a much wider role in the inoculation drive by allowing them to purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, in a news statement, said the national government could start by reviewing and revising the policy on Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

“Since there is now ample supply of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines globally, it is time that the national government consider allowing the private sector to deal directly with manufacturers to ensure a more sustainable and dependable supply of life-saving vaccines for Filipinos,” Velasco said.

Citing Republic Act 11525, or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, Velasco said private companies and local government units (LGUs) are authorized to procure vaccines which have been given emergency use authorization (EUA) through a tripartite agreement with manufacturers and the national government, represented by the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF).

Velasco, principal author of RA 11525, said he was open to amending the law to allow private companies to directly purchase vaccines for their workers and their dependents.

The House leader said he was also amenable to devolving some responsibilities and functions in the Covid-19 vaccination program from the national government to LGUs.

Velasco said that granting the private sector the authority to directly purchase Covid-19 shots will “relieve pressure on government resources considering that vaccine procurement and administration entails a lot of logistical challenges.”

“By granting the private sector greater participation in the vaccination campaign, the government can focus its resources on the inoculation of frontliners, uniformed personnel and vulnerable sectors,” Velasco said.

“The amount the government will save can be channeled to efforts to help economic recovery post-pandemic,” he added.

Given the high-level of efficiency associated with the private sector, Velasco said its greater involvement in Covid-19 vaccination would enhance government efforts to ensure rapid and efficient rollout of available vaccines.

Earlier, several business groups also asked the government to allow them to use its Covid-19 vaccines as booster shots for employees and their families.

The private sector groups said that boosters are a must in order to avoid another strict lockdown measures as vaccine efficacy wanes after six months.

Immunity

Velasco also urged the DOH and NTF to make public any findings as to how long does Covid-19 vaccine-induced immunity last.

“They should inform the public how long a certain vaccine brand lasts so that people would know when they get a booster or get inoculated again,” Velasco said.

Velasco had earlier lauded the national government for its aggressive vaccination efforts, which resulted in the dramatic decline in Covid-19 infection rates, particularly in the National Capital Region where a good number of residents are already fully vaccinated.

The government has conducted the National Covid-19 Vaccination Days, where an additional 9.9 million Filipinos were vaccinated from November 29 to December 3. The vaccination drive will have a second run from December 15 to 17.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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