Govt eyeing reformulated booster shots

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The government is working to acquire reformulated booster jabs that are recommended to fight emerging coronavirus variants of Covid-19.

The next-generation vaccine boosters will extend the efficacy of the Covid-19 jab, according to National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. in his report to President Rodrigo Duterte over the weekend.

“We are now negotiating for next year as directed by (Department of Finance) Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez with four manufacturers for the introduction of a reformulated booster,” Galvez said during Friday’s Cabinet meeting and Talk to the People that was aired on Saturday morning.

Galvez earlier bared the government is in initial deals with its multilateral partners World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for the second wave of vaccine procurement.

A budget of $45 million (around P2.2 billion) has been initially earmarked for the 2022 supply that will depend on the recommendations of the vaccine experts panel.

Galvez also expects procurement strategies to change as some vaccine manufacturers may not allow multi-party agreement (MPA) anymore in securing Covid-19 jabs.

“Maybe other brands in the future will change our procurement strategies because the LGUs and private sector could purchase directly. We don’t have MPA anymore,” he said partly in Filipino.

What is certain, Galvez said, is the recalibration of the vaccine deployment nationwide.

“We are recalibrating our Focus and Expand strategy and giving more allocation now to Region 4-A, and then Region 3, Region 7, Region 6, Region 10, Region 11, and other surge areas as directed by the President,” he said.

The vaccine czar also sought strict adherence to minimum health standards.

“They said vaccine alone cannot stop Delta and we need to increase prevention strategy: the effective masking, the ventilation, and massive vaccination,” Galvez said.

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