MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) has recommended a second booster shot for healthcare workers and the elderly but one more requirement is needed before its rollout, an official said Tuesday.
The remaining requirement, which will come from the World Health Organization (WHO), is expected to be released later Tuesday, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, chief of the National Vaccination Operations Center.
"Sa HTAC recommendation, meron na silang binigay na recommendation last Friday. Dapat i-out na ang guidelines for second booster ng A1 healthcare workers at A2 senior citizens. Pero may nilagay kasi sila doon na 'di nila natanggap yung WHO written requirements," she said in a televised briefing.
(The HTAC has given a recommendation last Friday. We should release the guidelines for second booster ng A1 healthcare workers at A2 senior citizens, but the HTAC said it has not received the WHO written requirements.)
"Yun ang inaasikaso natin. Paglabas ng WHO written requirements, pwede nang ipalabas anytime yung ating guidelines."
(That's what we're working on. Once the WHO written requirements are released, we can announce the guidelines anytime.)
Video courtesy of PTV
The government initially rolled out the second booster to immunocompromised persons and has so far administered it to 30,912 members of the vulnerable sector, Cabotaje said.
Majority or 12,000 were from Metro Manila, 6,000 were from Calabarzon, while Central Luzon and Davao region had inoculated 3,000 each, and 2,000 were from Ilocos region, she said.
It is important for the public to get their first booster shot or a third dose, according to infectious diseases specialist Dr. Edsel Salvana, member of the DOH-technical advisory group.
The data for second booster for the general population is still preliminary, he said.
"Preliminary pa lang ang data. May mga indikasyon bumababa lang din ng immunity...Kaya hindi pa firm po ang recommendation. 'Di malakas yung ebidensiya na yung nadadagdag niyang protection apart from A2 is of any benefit," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo Wednesday.
(The data is still preliminary. There's an indication that immunity just decreases...That's why the recommendation isn't firm. There's no strong evidence the protection it adds, apart from A2, is of any benefit.)
As of Monday, some 68 million or 76.29 percent of the eligible 90 million population in the country have been fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease, according to the Department of Health. Of this figure, 13.6 million have received their booster shots.
The Philippines has received 245.23 million doses of different COVID-19 vaccines, as of May 16, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. Of the total, some 148 million have been administered.