Press Release
May 25, 2021

Villanueva: Doubling vaccination rate seen to cut PH joblessness rate

Easing the joblessness rate hinges on the government's doubling its present vaccination rate of 162,513, which is the recent seven-day average, according to Senator Joel Villanueva.

"The most effective employment formula is the more jabs we administer, the more jobs we create," said Villanueva, chair of the Senate Labor and Employment Committee.

"If we can increase our vaccination rate to 325,000 doses a day, then we will be delivering 72 million doses from now until the end of the year," Villanueva said.

"That 72 million is half of the 140 million doses for 70 million people required to achieve herd immunity," Villanueva said.

However, the government's original plan was to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos by year-end with the expected deliveries of at least 140 million doses.

"So yung sinabi po natin na 325,000 daily doses ay may 50 percent discount na doon sa assurance ng pamahalaan na 140 million doses ang parating sa taong ito," he said.

A 325,000-daily jab rate, he said, "should be the minimum speed. However, it is still 'underspeeding'."

He expressed optimism that this can be reached "once private companies get into the act," adding that "a successful vaccination program is one that is a public-private partnership"

Philippine companies have pooled their resources to buy 20 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, with the first batch expected to arrive middle of next month.

"The private side will kick into action once the vaccines they have ordered will arrive. Private sector efficiency is the booster our vaccination drive needs."

Even if production disruptions, like the one India is facing, will delay the arrival of vaccines, "what is important is that we have set up the infrastructure for mass inoculation," he said.

"It is like acquiring the muscle memory to undertake what will eventually become routinary for us," Villanueva added.

Villanueva made the comment following the release by National Economic and Development Authority of a report showing the Philippines with the worst unemployment record among seven Asian economies.

The country's 7.1 percent official joblessness rate in March was higher than the latest figures reported by India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Indonesia.

This report underscores the urgency of vaccinating our workers and other economic frontliners, or those in the A4 group in the government's vaccination queue, Villanueva said. "We should open more vaccination sites to more groups," he added.

"Ten days ago, wala pa pong 9,000 na A4 ang nabakunahan," he said.

"Our labor force should be vaccinated in large numbers. That is the key to economic recovery. Before our workers can roll up their sleeves to work, they must roll them up to get their shots," he said.

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