MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has green lighted the administration of booster and additional shots of COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with co-morbidities.
The DOH said that the move was upon the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) and was later approved by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
The booster and third jab may be given within the year, and by 2022 for eligible priority groups, it added.
Based on the recommendation, the booster shots should be given within the fourth quarter of the year to health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks who received the jabs at least six months after the primary series.
The HTAC also recommended that the boosters should be based on the vaccine brands received by the individuals in the primary series.
If they received Pfizer-BioNTech, then they should also be given the same as a booster shot.
For those who got AstraZeneca, they may be given the same or preferably Pfizer-made jab for their booster shot.
Those who completed the Moderna primary series should also be given Moderna or Pfizer dose, while those inoculated with Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot may get Prizer or CoronaVac booster shot.
The HATC also pushed for the implementation of boosters for other eligible population in 2022 only if the A1 to A5 priority groups reach 50 percent in the primary series.
For the implementation of additional shots, particularly for immunocompromised individuals, the HTAC recommended that the dose will be given at least 18 days after they completed the initial COVID-19 vaccine series.
The third shot is recommended to be the same as those received in the primary series.
Based on data from the DOH, the Philippines has so far administered a total of 55,506,176 vaccine doses — 29,891,810 of which were given as first dose while 25,614,366 individuals were fully vaccinated.