140-B budget needed for coronavirus vaccine to achieve herd immunity: Lawmaker

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The government’s allotted budget for COVID-19 vaccine purchase is not nearly enough for the country to achieve herd immunity, a lawmaker said.

Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo said the proposed P83 billion COVID-19 vaccine budget for 2021 in the Senate is “not enough” if the goal is to achieve herd immunity next year, adding that it would have to be “at least P140 billion.”

Herd immunity would mean we are back on our trajectory to growth, she added.

In addition to insights on COVID-19 vaccine budget, Quimbo also discussed how workers’ situation “may be worse” than the official labor figures. She cited an estimate of 27 million workers who are unemployed, underemployed, self employed with no employees, and unpaid workers compared to the 4.6 million jobless Filipinos in July.

Recent October data show that 3.8 million adult Filipinos were unemployed, or an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent.