MANILA - Several business groups called on the government on Tuesday to allow the private firms to use their COVID-19 vaccines as booster shots for their employees amid an “oversupply” of jabs.
Twenty six groups, representing some of the country’s largest businesses, said the private sector purchased vaccines to help in the government’s inoculation efforts.
The groups said that while they understand the government’s need to prioritize certain sectors when vaccine supplies were scarce, the situation has changed and the country’s stockpile of jabs “has now reached close to 60 million.”
“We no longer have a shortage and with such a large stockpile, we risk having vaccines expire and go to waste,” the business groups said in a statement.
They also said studies show that vaccine efficiency wanes beyond six months, and without boosters there is a risk of another surge of cases which may again shut down the economy.
“We thus enjoin the government to immediately allow the private sector to use its vaccines,” the groups said.
Some of the business groups that signed the statement include the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc, and various foreign chambers and regional organizations.
The government has said that it is targeting to fully vaccinate 77.1 million Filipinos this year.
But ABS-CBN’s vaccine tracker shows that as of Nov. 22, the government has achieved only 43.9 percent of this goal after almost 9 months.
While the National Capital Region has vaccinated more than 90 percent of its target population, other regions have lagged.
The government meanwhile has approved booster shots for priority groups like medical workers and those with comorbidities.