Govt urged to include booster shot in fully vaxxed status: vaccine expert panel


Posted at Apr 01 2022 12:24 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2022 01:27 PM

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MANILA - Government is urged to include a booster shot in defining a fully vaccinated individual, a member of the country's vaccine expert panel said Friday.

Waning of COVID-19 immunity, easing of restrictions, and superspreader events may contribute to a possible surge after the May elections, according to Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious diseases at San Lazaro Hospital.

"We have to change the definition of fully vaccinated that will now include primary vaccine series plus the booster kasi meron na tayong supply ng (because we now have a supply of) booster doses," he said during a televised press briefing.

"Pangalawa, pagrequire sa mga workplaces na pag bumalik ang mga tao sa trabaho, i-encourage natin na bago sila makabalik, naka-booster doses na rin sila."

(Let's encourage workers to get their booster shots before they return to their workplaces.)

Solante said he hopes government would approve a second booster for the elderly, immunocompromised, and persons with comorbidities. The health department has applied to amend the emergency use authority of COVID-19 vaccines to include a 4th dose for the first two sectors.

Getting a booster shot also shortens the period that a person may experience long-haul symptoms of COVID-19, Solante added.

"May data na rin na yung long COVID mapi-prevent natin yan with vaccination. Pag nabakunahan and you have long COVID, mas umiikli ang sintomas," he said

(There's also data that vaccination prevents long COVID. When you're vaccinated and you have long COVID, the period of you symptoms is shorter.)

National vaccination days remain important in ramping up coverage across the country as it makes inoculation more accessible, Solante said.

For children, vaccines for preventable diseases are equally as important as COVID-19 jab, Solante added.

"Streptococcal or pneumonia disease among 5yo and below most common cause of mortality, pangalawa yung (second is) influenza," he said.