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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

13 December 2021 11:09:15 AM

To sustain the momentum of COVID-19 vaccination, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco is urging the national government to explore the possibility of giving the private sector much wider role in the inoculation drive against the deadly coronavirus.

Velasco said the national government can start by reviewing and revising the policy on COVID-19 vaccine procurement in order to allow the private sector to purchase directly from manufacturers.

“Since there is now ample supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines globally, it is time that the national government consider allowing the private sector to deal directly with manufacturers to ensure a more sustainable and dependable supply of life-saving vaccines for Filipinos,” Velasco said.

Pursuant to Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, private companies and local government units (LGUs) are authorized to procure vaccines which have been given emergency use authorization through a tripartite agreement with manufacturers and the national government, represented by the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF).

Velasco, who was the principal author of RA 11525 in the House of Representatives, said he was open to amending the law to allow private companies to directly purchase vaccines for their workers and their dependents.

The House leader said he was also amenable to devolving some responsibilities and functions in the COVID-19 vaccination program from the national government to LGUs.

Velasco said that granting the private sector the authority to directly purchase COVID-19 shots will “relieve pressure on government resources considering that vaccine procurement and administration entails a lot of logistical challenges.”

“By granting the private sector greater participation in the vaccination campaign, the government can focus its resources on the inoculation of frontliners, uniformed personnel and vulnerable sectors,” Velasco pointed out.

“The amount the government will save can be channeled to efforts to help economic recovery post-pandemic,” he added.

Given the high-level of efficiency associated with the private sector, Velasco said its greater involvement in COVID-19 vaccination would enhance government efforts to ensure rapid and efficient rollout of available vaccines.

Meanwhile, Velasco urged the DOH and NTF to make public any findings as to how long does COVID-19 vaccine-induced immunity last.

“They should inform the public how long a certain vaccine brand lasts so that people would know when they get a booster or get inoculated again,” Velasco said.

Velasco had earlier lauded the national government for its aggressive vaccination efforts, which resulted in the dramatic decline in COVID-19 infection rates, particularly in the National Capital Region where a good number of residents are already fully vaccinated.

He also congratulated the Duterte administration on the successful holding of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days, where an additional 9.9 million Filipinos were vaccinated from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. The vaccination drive will have a second run on Dec. 15 to 17. #