Gov't nixes COVID booster card requirement in highly vaccinated areas


Posted at Feb 07 2022 07:46 AM | Updated as of Feb 07 2022 08:50 AM

The head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government rejected Monday a proposal by Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion that areas with high vaccination rates should require COVID-19 booster cards for additional protection against the disease.

"Sa ngayon hindi pa yan napapanahon," DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano said in a TeleRadyo interview. 

He said that while administering booster shots are already being administered to those who are fully vaccinated, the government is still prioritizing administering COVID-19 vaccines to the population. 

He noted that at least 34 million Filipinos remain unvaccinated, including 565,888 in Metro Manila. "Gusto natin fully vaccinated," he said. 

Only 2.6 million in Metro Manila have received booster shots, he added. 

"If we implement a no booster, no entry policy, our economy will suffer because only a few will be allowed in establishments," he said. 

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion earlier said adding the booster card requirement will be another way to move forward amid the pandemic.

"We have to plan for this. In other words, we want to make sure that people are still protected with the vaccines," he told ANC's "Rundown". 

"At a certain point in time, depending on when you take it, it will definitely wane and you maybe unprotected."

Government data as of Feb. 1 showed that 7.5 million people in the country had received their booster dose. Of the figure, 2.1 million were administered in the National Capital Region.

Concepcion said the proposal could be implemented in Metro Manila "in a month or two". He said the requirement to show proof of COVID-19 booster shot is being implemented in other countries, including the US.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana, however, argued it would be "difficult" to require booster cards in Metro Manila. 

"Masyadong maraming tao ang hindi pa natin nabu-boost, and of course, we want to make sure the focus remains on the people na hindi pa nababakunahan," reasoned Salvana, a member of the Department of Health technical advisory group. 

(We have yet to boost too many people, and of course, we want to make sure the focus remains on the people who are not yet vaccinated.) 

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