Booster shots, third dose approved but still need EUA-DOH

26-Oct-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has approved a government panel’s proposal for COVID-19 booster shots and third doses, a health official said on Monday.

The Health Technology Assessment Council recommended the move provided a stable supply of the jabs and an “acceptable” vaccination coverage in the country.

But while already with Duque’s nod, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this would still need an emergency use authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration.

“All plans are underway,” she said at a briefing in Filipino. “While we’re waiting for the EUA, we are already planning and discussing its implementation.”

HTAC recommended the use of booster shots in the country, starting with medical workers and the elderly who have received their primary doses at least six months by end of this year.

But the council was careful in pitching the move, saying “provided there is sufficient vaccine supply and acceptable primary vaccination coverage has been achieved.”

While inoculation czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has said the Philippines is no longer dealing with supply problems of the jabs, the hurdle could be on the number of persons fully vaccinated.

Government figures last week showed there are only 24.87 million Filipinos in the country complete with their COVID-19 shots.

While that rate has picked up pace in recent months, it still translates to 32.25 percent of the government’s target population of 77.13 million this year.

HTAC said the giving of booster shots could be expanded to other eligible populations by 2022, but only if an acceptable vaccine coverage is met in the originally identified priority groups.

It cited as examples 50 percent coverage for those in the priority list, as well as 70 percent of the total target population in hotspot regions such as Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Calabarzon, and Central Luzon.

“The rationale for the set threshold prior to implementation of booster includes ensuring maximum coverage for the primary series,” the council said, “as the premature rollout of booster vaccination without attaining acceptable coverage would exacerbate existing inequities.”

Apart from booster shots, HTAC also recommended an additional or third dose for immunocompromised patients, which is still different from the former.

A World Health Organization advisory panel advised the use of this on October 11 for the said individuals, since they are “less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

HTAC told Duque an additional dose could be given for immunocompromised individuals at least 28 days after completing their initial vaccine series.

Among those it recommended for the shot are persons receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, those receiving an organ transplant, dialysis patients, and those with advanced or untreated human immunodeficiency virus or HIV infection.

The Philippines began its inoculation efforts in March this year that authorities have sought to ramp up amid a deadly surge in cases in recent months attributed to the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.

Jabs with emergency use authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration are: Sinovac, Astrazeneca, Sputnik V, Pfiser, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Bharat Biotech, and Sinopharm.


Category: Philippines

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.