MANILA — Government might allow overseas Filipino workers and seamen to take COVID-19 booster shots, Malacañang said on Monday.
Authorities have said the public is not yet allowed to get booster jabs while the vaccine supply remains tight.
"Siguro we can make an exception doon sa mga OFW, iyong mga seafarers na kinakailangan magpabakuna ng mga western brands dahil ‘yon naman po ay requirement ng kanilang mga employers," Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing.
(Perhaps, we can make an exception for our OFWs, our seafarers who need to get vaccinated with western brands because that is a requirement of their employers.)
However, he urged OFWs to wait for the availability of vaccines required by their employers, instead of getting a different brand that could be allotted to other people.
At the same time, Roque asked the public to wait for the Philippines to immunize most of its 109 million people before getting booster shots, following reports that some individuals get more than 2 jabs from different local governments.
"Hindi po natin kinukunsinti ‘yan dahil marami pa pong hindi nababakunahan," he said on "vaccine-hopping" reports.
(We do not condone that because many have not yet been vaccinated.)
"Ang pakiusap po natin, lahat naman po ng bakuna nagbibigay ng proteksyon. Hintayin muna natin magkaroon ng bakuna ang karamihan ng ating mga kababayan bago tayo mag-booster shot," added Roque.
(Our request is, all vaccines give protection. Let us wait for majority of our compatriots to receive their vaccine before we get booster shots.)
The Department of Information and Communications is coming up with a master list of vaccine recipients and encoding data from local governments, he said.
Among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in Asia, the Philippines aims to immunize up to 70 million people before the year ends to achieve herd immunity and safely reopen the economy.
Some 12.5 million people have been fully vaccinated so far, leaving millions vulnerable to more infectious COVID-19 variants.