Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri

MANILA – Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is urging the government to prepare a national vaccination program for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as many countries accelerate the development and manufacturing of vaccines against the highly contagious virus.

“What would be the best measure of government for our people right now if you want to (go) back to normal? It’s preparation for a vaccination program,” Zubiri said during the National MSME Week e-forum on Monday.

He said several governments around the world such as the United States, China, Israel, United Kingdom, and other European countries have prepared early for the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine by securing stocks of the potential vaccines with developers and manufacturers.

“Our government has to work government-to-government now and discuss the ability or the plan to purchase at least 110 million dosages of vaccines for our people,” the lawmaker added.

Zubiri said the Senate is willing to immediately put a budget for the vaccination program through a special budget approval, Bayanihan 2 Act, or in the 2021 budget.

“We should not be left out in getting the vaccine because before you know it, everybody has been vaccinated except us in the Philippines,” Zubiri said.

According to the draft landscape of Covid-19 candidate vaccines of the World Health Organization (WHO), there are now 23 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 140 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation.

The WHO also launched the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access or Covax Facility that aims to deliver two billion doses of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

This program also pushes for equal sharing and delivery of Covid-19 vaccines among participating countries.

According to WHO, more than 150 countries have engaged with the Covax Facility. (PNA)

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