THE government has decided to hold off the procurement of additional batches of Covid-19 vaccines for now.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. found the 1.3 million Covid-19 jabs shipped by the Vaccines Global Access (Covax) facility to the country, “sufficient” for the current domestic needs amid the declining incidence of infections nationwide.
As of January 29, the Department of Health (DOH) logged 9,982 active Covid-19 cases.
“Hindi na kailangan kagaya ng 2021 na lagi tayong nagmamadali makakuha ng vaccine dahil pabawas na ’yung risk. [It is not like in 2021 when we had to rush the procurement of vaccines since there is now a lower risk],” the President explained at his meeting with health officials on Wednesday in Malacañang.
Based on DOH data, around 73 million individuals got their Covid-19 vaccines, while 21 million individuals received their booster shots.
Aside from vaccine jabs, Marcos also reiterated he wants the continuation of the allowance received by health care workers (HCW) during the pandemic, despite the lifting of the national state of calamity (SOC) last month.
“‘Yung allowance nila ay pinag-aralan namin nang mabuti kahit hindi itinutuloy ang state of calamity ay hindi maapektuhan ang pagbayad doon sa ating mga health workers ng kanilang mga benefits [We are now studying how we can continue the allowance of health workers without the state calamity],” Marcos said.
Marcos had given that same commitment last year, when DOH sought the extension of the SOC stating it could affect the allowance of HCWs as well as the government procurement and emergency use authorization (EUA) for Covid-19 vaccines.
Marcos, however, opted not to extend the SOC, which lapsed last month, after saying that the situation in the country is normalizing.
The SOC took effect in March 2020 when then President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued Proclamation No. 929 in response to the spread of Covid-19 nationwide.
It was supposed to only last six months, but was extended twice via Proclamation No. 1021 and Proclamation No. 1218 until Sept. 12, 2022.
Marcos also decided to prolong the duration of the SOC until the end of 2022 through Proclamation No. 57.