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IATF urged to provide booster shots for health workers, immunocompromised

Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to provide booster shots to health workers and the immunocompromised amid the increasing number of COVID-19 infections.

House Resolution 40 was lodged by Cayetano, Taguig Representative Laarni Cayetano, Anakalusugan party-list Representative Michael Defensor, Laguna Representative Dan Fernandez, Batangas Representative Raneo Abu, and Bulacan Representative Jose Antonio Alvarado.

The resolution stressed that the Philippines has been struggling to vaccinate more than a small fraction of its population amid shortage of the vaccine supply.

"Providing extra protection to those who are most vulnerable due to their line of duty of physical compromise is a moral imperative and a practical necessity to prevent the collapse of our healthcare system," the resolution read.

The lawmakers stressed the importance of protecting health workers so that, in turn, they could take care of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

"It is vital to protect our healthcare workers, so that they may, in turn, take care of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. With hundreds of hospitals in the country nearing full capacity and our healthcare workers having to attend to more patients and extending working hours as a result of recent rise in positive cases, we cannot afford a further shortage of our health manpower as a result of our healthcare workers being infected with the virus," the resolution stated.

An infectious disease expert and member of the Vaccine Expert Panel has backed giving COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for healthcare workers.

Dr. Rontgene Solante said the VEP already submitted their recommendation to the All Experts Groups of the Department of Health (DOH).

In the proposed 2022 budget, a total of P45 billion for booster shots is unprogrammed, meaning it will only be funded if the government will be able to raise enough money for it. — RSJ, GMA News