Senate Calls on Government to Pre-Purchase COVID-19 Vaccines for 2022
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto urges the government to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the Philippines for 2022.
He expressed the unlikeliness of the country in achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 by the end of 2020, as authorities claim.
Recto continued the urgent need for the government to secure vaccines and prepare for the country’s vaccination requirement next year. The government should include pre-payments if necessary.
Recto stated, “We will surely need booster shots, so we have to anticipate that, anticipate the additional vaccines needed, [and] also anticipate the new medicines for COVID-19.”
Along with securing vaccine doses, the government should also dedicate efforts to upgrading the country’s healthcare system, such as hospital beds, intensive care units (ICUs), and medical equipment.
He noted, “We must also pay our health workers because they are our soldiers in this war. Let’s pay our nurses, doctors, [and] healthcare workers who take care of hundreds of thousands of our countrymen.”
According to Recto, the sooner the Philippines achieve herd immunity through vaccinating 70 million Filipinos nationwide, the sooner the economy will recover.
He continued, “We must anticipate that we might not be able to defeat the virus this year. This a global effort that might take more years to finish this off.”
Recto reiterated how the proposed budget for 2021 barely contained funding for vaccine procurement for the Philippines and compared how other countries dedicated funding for vaccine procurement alone.
Recto cited Israel’s move in securing COVID-19 vaccines in advance, making down payments for the vaccines last year, even when the virus had just begun to spread.
He stated, “Israel calculated that it would be cheaper to pay a premium for the vaccines than to shut down the economy.”