MANILA - The government should increase vaccine supply and hasten the inoculation of the population despite the new lockdown in Metro Manila to offset further damage brought by the pandemic, a business group said Friday.
In a statement, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) also urged the government to relax rules and allow all sectors to avail of vaccinations from the LGUs for jabs not covered by the COVAX rules.
The current vaccination program follows specific priority groups while donated vaccines from the WHO-led COVAX facility are intended for A2 and A3 categories.
The government on Friday said Metro Manila will be under another enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from Aug. 6 to Aug. 20 to mitigate the spread of the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.
This is the third time the National Capital Region was placed under hard lockdown since the pandemic began.
"While this will further hurt our struggling businesses, we expect the government to mitigate the damage by increasing vaccine supply and ensuring that vaccination programs continue even under ECQ, as this is really the solution to controlling the pandemic," the MAP said.
"We further urge the government to relax rules to allow all sectors to avail of vaccination, specially those given by the LGUs which are not covered by Covax rules," it added.
The government should also beef up its contact-tracing efforts, "otherwise we will likely continue to see surges in the future and we cannot afford more lockdowns," the MAP said.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate 50 to 70 percent of its population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity. So far, 7.8 million out of its over 100 million population have been fully vaccinated.