NTF eyes booster vaccination in drug stores, pharmaceutical clinics

Drug stores and pharmaceutical clinics are now being considered by the national government to be used as additional vaccination sites to speed up the administration of booster shots against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the eligible population.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. (Screenshot from RTVM livestream)

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 will start using big pharmacies and private sector clinics for the booster vaccination of the A4 population or the economic frontliners.

“I-expand po natin ang (We will expand the) vaccination sites for boostering using big pharmacies and private sector clinics for the A4 population,” Galvez told President Duterte during the “Talk to the People” public address on Monday night, Jan. 17.

Among the pharmacies being considered are Mercury Drug, Watsons, The Generics Pharmacy (TGP), Generika, South Star Drug, QualiMed, and Healthway among others.

Galvez lamented that the current booster vaccination rate was too slow and had to be ramped up especially amid the surge of infections.

Out of the 72.16 million Filipinos who are eligible to receive the booster shot, only 4,765,771 individuals have so far taken their third dose, according to Galvez.

“In our analysis, this is still below the ideal number because we have already launched the vaccination of our children, which now reached eight million,” he said.

He said the daily average booster vaccination was at 267,900 doses.

“Kinakailangan po na maiangat sa doblado or 500,000 doses kada araw (We need to double this or make it 500,000 doses per day),” he added.

Aside from using pharmacies and private sector clinics, Galvez said the NTF will also set-up dedicated booster vaccination sites in mega vaccination centers like the Nayong Pilipino in Manila.

Meanwhile, the primary series vaccination can be held through barangay-to-barangay (B2B) or house-to-house (H2H) means.