Gov’t has enough vax supplies for booster shots, says NTF adviser

Published November 20, 2021, 11:26 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

The national government has an ample supply of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines for the booster vaccination of healthcare workers, a medical adviser of the country’s primary task force on pandemic response has reiterated.

Dr. Ted Herbosa, special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, responds to media queries during the arrival of 609,570 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at NAIA Terminal 3 on Nov. 19, 2021. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

Dr. Ted Herbosa, special adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said there are more than 50 million doses in the government’s stockpile which are more than enough to cover about 1.9 million healthcare workers across the country.

“We have a lot in our stockpile, we have over 50 million in our stockpile so we can readily vaccinate them,” he said during the arrival of an additional 609,570 doses of Pfizer shots at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 on Friday night, Nov. 19.

The vaccines were procured by the national government from the United States-based manufacturer Pfizer pharmaceutical company with assistance from the financing of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The recent delivery brought the total supply to 133,779,540 doses where around a total of 74,997,638 doses have already been administered while 58,781,902 doses have been stored in various cold chain facilities.

The government allocated around two million doses for the administration of booster shots to healthcare workers. Meanwhile, an additional five million doses were set aside for the booster shots of senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.

Herbosa said around 6,000 healthcare workers nationwide have already been given booster doses, including himself.

The NTF adviser availed of a booster shot using the Pfizer vaccine at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila on Friday morning. He took his two doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac shot back in March.

Meanwhile, the NTF is calling on interested individuals, particularly medical practitioners, to be volunteers for the upcoming National Vaccination Day from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.

“We are actually asking for volunteers, anywhere from encoders to doctors that will help in the assessment or nurses that will give the vaccination” Herbosa said.

Several teachers from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) have already volunteered to be data encoders while some universities have been allocated as venues for vaccination sites during the program dubbed as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan.”

Around 10,000 vaccination sites and 25,000 vaccinators are being targeted to be activated while 15 million individuals are eyed to be inoculated during the three-day program.

“That’s the target to reach the five million per day target on those three days,” Herbosa said.

To entice more people to volunteer, Herbosa said those who will help in the vaccination program will be entitled to “incentives.”

“I think some are [going to be] hired, some will have allowance, and it’s a special working holiday [Nov. 29 and Dec. 1]. If you are going to volunteer, you will not be considered as absent. You will still be [considered] leave with pay,” he said.