MANILA — The Philippines will administer the first batch of bivalent COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable groups, the Department of Health said Thursday.
Those who will be prioritized include healthcare workers, senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities, the DOH said.
This is in line with the conditions set by COVAX facility, the United Nations-backed international vaccine-sharing scheme, it added.
"Once additional doses are secured and available, prioritization may be expanded to other priority groups," the DOH said in a statement.
The agency said it was finalizing the guidelines on the use of the bivalent vaccines. Bivalent vaccines are modified jabs that target the omicron variant and the original form of the virus.
"Rest assured that the guidelines shall be issued in time for the implementation of the roll-out of the vaccines in the country," the DOH said.
"Currently, different strategies and allocation mechanism are being studied by DOH, taking into consideration acceptability, equity, and operational efficiency in utilizing the vaccine," it added.
The Philippines has secured an initial donation of around 1 million doses of Pfizer's bivalent vaccines from COVAX facility. The shots are expected to arrive in the country before the end of March.
Since the Philippines started its inoculation program in March 2021, more than 73.8 million or 94.54 percent of eligible population in the country have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Of the figure, over 21.3 million have received their first boosters while 3.8 million have gotten their second boosters.
To date, the country has 9,604 active COVID-19 cases.