MANILA - A heterologous or different vaccine brand is recommended as a second booster for those eligible to receive it, government's vaccine expert panel said Thursday.
The Food and Drug Administration last week granted the amendment of COVID-19 vaccines' emergency use authorization to include a fourth jab for the elderly, immunocompromised, and health workers.
"Hindi kailangan pareho dun sa dati. So kung ano yung available as LGU o vaccination sites yun ang ating ibibigay. We prefer yung heterologous sana yung booster kasi alam natin mas magandang proteksyong binibigay," VEP chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani said in a televised press briefing.
(It doesn't have to be the same vaccine brand as before. We'll administer whatever is available in the local government unit or vaccination sites. We prefer heterologous booster because we know f gives better protection.)
Following FDA's approval, the Health Technology Assessment Council will give its final recommendation before the National Vaccination Operations Center can draft its guidelines and implement these, according to the Department of Health.
The HTAC recommendation has been "routed" to the office of Health Secretary Francisco Duque and will be released "anytime soon," according to Gloriani.
The NVOC had targeted to launch second booster shots on Wednesday, its head Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje earlier said.
"Ready na po ang ating NVOC, guidelines nila naiayos na, anytime after that, maaaring bukas basta soon for those who are eligible," she said.
(NVOC is ready, it has drafted its guidelines. Anytime after that, maybe tomorrow or soon, it will be rolled out for those who are eligible.)
There is a recommended interval period of 4 months between the first and second booster, Gloriani said.
Government is also awaiting data on variant of concern-specific COVID-19 vaccines, Gloriani added.