Expert urges Marcos admin to 'commercialize' COVID jabs after first 100 days

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2022 11:29 AM

San Juan City rolls out its second booster shots against COVID-19 for senior citizens and medical frontliners at the Vmall Greenhills vaccination site on May 20, 2022. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News
San Juan City rolls out its second booster shots against COVID-19 for senior citizens and medical frontliners at the Vmall Greenhills vaccination site on May 20, 2022. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

The administration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should "commercialize" COVID-19 vaccines after his first 100 days in office, a health reform advocate said Tuesday.

A deadline on until when vaccines will remain free for the public would encourage more people to get booster shots, said Dr. Tony Leachon, a former adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. 

"'Yung di makakatapos ng first 100 days, then it has to be commercialized na at sino na lang ang gusto magpabakuna. 'Di siya puwedeng open-ended," he told ANC's Headstart.

(For those who cannot get their shots in the first 100 days, it has to be commercialized. This should not be open-ended.)

"There must be a deadline for this one so the programs of the next administration in terms of economic recovery, maibabalik lahat (everything can be returned to normal), bring back our lives and normalcy."

Leachon also urged the Marcos administration to end the "public health emergency" that would expire in September. The Department of Health earlier said it was the World Health organization that declared the pandemic as a public health emergency. 

The Philippines had declared a state of calamity, which was extended twice. 

The health agency warned that ending the declaration of the state of calamity would also terminate all emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.

Manufacturers have yet to apply for a certificate of product registration which is needed for the commercial sale of their products, the DOH earlier said.

Leachon also proposed a reorganization of the inter-agency task force on COVID and urged public-private partnership.

"I think it’s about time you have there a host of people who have knowledge in internal medicine so that the action will be actually faster atsaka (and) more agile," he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III heads the task force that consults experts on various fields.