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Gov’t urged to let LGUs, firms buy COVID jabs

The national government is urged to establish a policy where local government units and the private sector will be allowed to directly purchase their own vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019.

This recommendation is part of Makati Business Club’s (MBC) discussion paper on Covid-19 released Tuesday.

“To help accelerate vaccination, the government should allow LGUs and the private sector to buy more of their own vaccines either through more tripartite agreements for EUA (emergency use authorization) vaccines or by accelerating FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) full approval of vaccines, which would allow companies to buy them directly,” the MBC said.

The business group added the government should establish a transparent system to avoid LGUs and private sector competing with the national government in vaccine procurement.

The MBC also encouraged the government to accelerate vaccine purchase including boosters, especially for medical front-liners.

“Boosters should probably go first to healthcare workers, whose immunity may be waning because they were the first to be vaccinated. But the government should be ready to cover the whole population if necessary, for as many years as needed,” it said.

The business group also advised the government to continue buying a portfolio of vaccines and not settle for cheaper vaccines.

“On pricing, we should balance our attempts to buy more for less with the calculation that even high-priced vaccines are less expensive than testing or treating Covid,” MBC said.

While prioritizing the A1, A2, A3, and A4 groups should be continued, vaccination for other sectors should also be started including minors.

“Vaccination —probably the most important part of the war against Covid— has momentum, and we believe there are areas for improvement and acceleration,” MBC chair Edgar Chua said.*PNA

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