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Concepcion recommends an end to free COVID vaccines for all

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

OUTGOING Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Ma. “Joey” A. Concepcion III is recommending a halt to the government’s procurement of coronavirus vaccines, citing the low uptake for booster jabs.

“The government has bought vaccines for our people. But as you can see, our citizens stopped taking the vaccines, then these just go to waste,” Mr. Concepcion said in an interview in ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart on Thursday.

“So, we should pass on that responsibility of procuring vaccines to our citizens,” he said, adding that public funds should just be allocated for a limited number of vaccines intended for those who cannot afford it.

“For those who cannot afford these vaccines, I would still recommend that the government sets aside some funds to purchase these vaccines. But, the rest, I believe it should be our citizens,” he said.

As of June 29, Department of Health data show that only 14.97 million coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) booster shots have been administered while over 70.69 million people already have complete doses.

Mr. Concepcion said authorities should get vaccine makers to apply for certificate of product registration to continue the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines commercially.

“We have to get the vaccine manufacturers to apply for a certificate of product registration. Why is that important? I believe that taking care of our health is not just the role of government. Our Filipino people have to be conscious about that,” he said.

“We have to be practical in what the new health protocols would be. Let’s give that responsibility to our citizens. I hope the President (Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.) will (consider),” he added.

In a separate statement, Mr. Concepcion expressed his support for the Marcos administration, saying that he is looking forward to more public-private sector partnership.

“Given the many challenges we are facing today, I agree with the President that the sooner we start, the surer and quicker the prospect of achieving our goals for the future. The private sector is doing what it can to help the government on the health front,” Mr. Concepcion said.

“I think the President understands that the pandemic and the inflation brought by the war in Europe unfairly affected the smallest and the most vulnerable, especially the micro, small, and medium enterprises, and they will need all the help we can give them,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave