PH vaccine expert panel backs 4th dose for elderly, immunocompromised

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2022 03:17 PM

Senior citizens receive their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots at the Filoil San Juan Arena in San Juan City on December 03, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Senior citizens receive their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots at the Filoil San Juan Arena in San Juan City on December 03, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Government's vaccine expert panel has recommended that a fourth dose or second booster shot be given to the elderly and immunocompromised, a pandemic task force adviser said Friday.

Only 10.5 million of 63 million fully vaccinated individuals have received their third dose, according to Dr. Ted Herbosa.

"As of now, mayroong recommendation ang ating vaccine expert panel para sa mga pagbigay ng 4th dose or 2nd booster dose para sa mga senior at immunocompromised," he said in a televised press briefing.

(As of now the vaccine expert panel has a recommendation for a fourth dose or second booster dose for senior citizens and immunocompromised.)

"Ito ngayon ay pinasa na para sa technical advisory group at all experts group, hintayin na lang natin kung maaaprubahan ito ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19) para ma-implementa na."

(It's been submitted to the technical advisory group and all experts group, we're just awaiting if the IATF will approve it and implement it.)

The fourth run of the Bayanihan Bakunahan program scheduled next week aims to inoculate some 2 million more senior citizens, Herbosa said.

"Hinahabol natin yung mga A2 - senior citizen na hindi pa nababakunahan, about 2 more million ang aming estimated hindi pa nababakunahan. Pangalawa, hinahabol din natin 'tong [another] dose para mapalakas ang kanilang immunity," he said.

(We're targeting the A2 or senior citizens who have yet to get vaccinated, we estimate there are 2 million more of them. Secondly, we're also targeting another dose so we can strengthen their immunity.)

"Marami kasi iniisip (Alert) Level 1 na, ayaw na nilang magpa-booster dose. Kailangan pa rin po bigyan sila ng booster dose para ma-boost ang kanilang immunity against COVID-19 at hindi na tayo umabot sa ano pang wave."

(Many think that they don't want to get a booster dose because we've deescalated to Alert Level 1. They still need a booster dose so their immunity against COVID-19 can be boosted and we don't reach another wave of infections.)

Some 62.82 percent of 9.4 million elderly and 92.51 percent of 14.5 million persons with comorbidities have been given complete doses as of Feb. 28, according to the DOH. 

Those most at risk for breakthrough infections are the elderly and individuals with preexisting illnesses, especially those with cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Gilbert Vilela, president of Philippine Heart Association and Philippine College of Cardiology.

The most common comorbidities in patients who had COVID-19 and were intubated are hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease which is an "offshoot" of the former, Vilela said.

"People with heart disease, stroke, other CV (cardiovascular disease) are at a higher risk for serious complication versus those without underlying condition," he said.