Philippines mulls redefinition of fully vaxxed validity, push boosters

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2022 09:47 AM | Updated as of Apr 11 2022 02:49 PM

Police officers inspect vaccination cards of pedestrians and motorists passing through a busy road in Taguig City on January 21, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Police officers inspect vaccination cards of pedestrians and motorists passing through a busy road in Taguig City on January 21, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Health is considering to redefine the validity of fully inoculated individuals' vaccination cards, its spokesperson said Monday.

The private sector and some members of the vaccine expert panel have recommended that government redefine the meaning of full vaccination due to low booster shot uptake.

"We are set to redefine these fully vaccinated individuals. But right now we’re still onto discussing this with our experts as to how we’re going to have this validity for our vaccination cards so we can be able to improve further our booster vaccination," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergere told ANC's Headstart.

Vergeire reiterated that vaccination is voluntary in the Philippines after proposals that booster shot cards be required in establishments.

"What our public should be informed of would be the importance of booster shots. Restrictions would be like incentivizing and disincentivizing those that are being vaccinated and government is already doing that," she said.

"We need to be able to discuss this further. Like when we redefine our fully vaccinated, this means that this will be the ones adopted by our establishments as to disincentives that those without boosters will be doing."

Only 12.3 million of 44 million eligible individuals have received their booster shots, according to Vergeire. 

The DOH spokesperson also clarified the country has "less than 5 percent" of vaccine wastage following reports of near-expiry vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration earlier extended the shelf life of some vaccine batches nearing expiration.

"People are confused right now because there had been reports that we ave this expiring vaccines that's worth a lot," she said.

"But when we did our wall to wall inventories we can see that only about less than 10 percent of what we had right now had been wasted and this is not because of expired vaccines but because of the storage and other logistical issues."

She added that vaccine batches that had extended shelf life were still "safe and of quality."

Vergeire reminded the public to observe minimum health standards during the Holy Week to sustain the country's low alert levels.

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