COVID-19 2nd booster shots needed for workers more than 50 years old --- Concepcion

Allow employees to get second Covid-19 booster shots now.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepion made the urgent appeal on Wednesday as he raised the alarm that the country is currently "in the middle of an economic storm" and that "we need to protect people who are now keeping our economy afloat."

Otherwise, the Philippine economic recovery is threatened, along with fears of stagflation, he added.

Concepcion, also the Go Negosyo founder, said vaccinations have a high acceptance rate among the employees while the private sector already has its own vaccine supplies, so there is no reason not to allow workers to get their second booster as protection against the virus.

If the government would not allow it, then at least it must consider allowing the administration of the second booster on Filipinos above 50 years old, he added.

"We know the vaccines are what give us immunity and the boosters are what we need to maintain that wall of immunity," he said.

The Department of Health recently approved the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to give those aged 12 to 17 a booster shot following the completion of primary doses.

Second booster shots, meanwhile, remain available only to healthcare workers, the elderly or those above 60 years and those immunocompromised.

Concepcion stressed there is no reason "the HTAC should not approve boosters for 50-year olds when the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), which is a well- respected body, has already approved it."

"And those vaccines approved for second boosters are already available here," he said, adding the CDC is even the same body that recommended second boosters for ages 12 years and older.

The presidential adviser said "productive workers fall within this age range of 50 years and older."

And "though they are now more vulnerable because of their age, they still cannot avail of the second boosters because they’re still not 60," he said.

"Every day they keep our economy running, and every day they might get exposed to Covid-19. We owe it to them to provide access to better protection," he said.

"The argument is not for mandating second boosters for those younger than 60 years old, it’s for making it available to those who need them for added protection against Covid," he added.