Regular booster shot budget likely—Dominguez

Published October 11, 2021, 2:46 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

President Duterte’s chief economic manager suggested that the next administration should continue in subsidizing people’s subsequent booster doses of the coronavirus vaccine to ensure the country’s economic recovery.

With more COVID-19 booster shots on the horizon, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters that it is becoming a necessary input into the economy that the government may need to regularly spend on in the coming years.

According to Dominguez, “it is really mandatory” that the government provides the necessary vaccines for the entire population.

“This is an investment really in people’s health, and without that, I don’t think the economy can safely open. If we don’t have booster shots, we’ll have ups and downs in our economic recovery program,” Dominguez said.

As the Philippine government prepares funding for the third COVID-19 booster jabs, Dominguez said the country may also begin making preparations to eventually administer additional doses of the vaccine beyond 2022.

“I am sure that the succeeding administration will keep in mind that vaccines are really insurance. It’s really a necessary input into the economy,” the finance chief said.

However, Dominguez believes that COVID-19 vaccines will less costlier in the future as the technology advances.

He also added that other technologies, besides vaccines, will be discovered against COVID-19.

“I’m not predicting it’s only going to be in vaccines, because I think the technology will develop. And, as shown, the prices will go down as the manufacturing gets more and more efficient,” Dominguez said.

Last Oct. 5, Dominguez III said the government was talks with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for about $900 million loans for booster shots for 2022.

Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven said the government may sign the ADB-AIIB loan before the end of the year, or “probably” by November, while financing from the World Bank may come either December or early January 2022.

Under the Duterte administration’s proposed 2022 national budget, the government allocated P45.3 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots under unprogrammed appropriations.

For 2021, the DOF had secured $1.2 billion, or around P58.4 billion, for COVID-19 vaccine procurement also from the World Bank, ADB and AIIB.

 
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