Govt urged to allow private sector to use their purchased COVID-19 vaccines as boosters

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Private sector organizations believe they should now be allowed to use the COVID-19 vaccines they purchased as booster shots for their employees and their dependents, considering the country's stockpile of vaccines.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 23) — Several private sector organizations are appealing to the government to allow them to use the COVID-19 vaccines they bought as booster shots for their employees and their dependents.

The Department of Health earlier said private companies cannot use their vaccines as extra doses, except for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals now covered by the booster rollout.

In a joint statement signed on Tuesday, 26 groups said they believe their appeal is reasonable, considering the country's stockpile of vaccines.

The signatories include the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and the Management Association of the Philippines.

"We fully understand the need to prioritize certain sectors when vaccines are scarce, but the government has announced that its stockpile of vaccines has now reached close to 60 million and continues to increase, as the vaccines are arriving faster than they can be dispensed," they wrote.

They argued that allowing private firms to use their vaccine supply as extra doses will help prevent "having vaccines expire and go to waste."

"With the oversupply, the private sector asks the government to allow it to use these vaccines to take care of their employees and dependents as their contribution to accelerating national vaccination," they added.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire previously said a firm with extra supply of vaccine may enter into a loan agreement, where they can first give their doses to the national government, which will then replenish these when the company already needs the vaccines.