Health workers, elderly urged to get mRNA booster shots: advisory body

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2022 01:29 PM

An elderly Marikina City resident receives her second COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on May 19, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
An elderly Marikina City resident receives her second COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on May 19, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

 
MANILA — Healthcare workers and the elderly are urged to get messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines for their second booster shot, a health advisory and assessment body said Friday.

The Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), in a statement, recommended the administration of a second booster of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to prevent symptomatic illness for health workers at least 4 months after their first booster.

The council recommended Pfizer's jab for senior citizens after at least 4 months have passed since their first booster.

"Finally, the HTAC would like to emphasize that these recommendations are interim and it is actively following the latest evidence which is rapidly evolving," it said.

mRNA vaccines give cells instructions on how to make the S protein found on the surface of the coronavirus, which triggers the creation of antibodies, according to Mayo Clinic.

HTAC said Health Secretary Francisco Duque approved its recommendations and the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center has proceeded with the rollout. 

The Philippine Medical Association urges those eligible for a third or fourth vaccine dose to get it after a more transmissible omicron subvariant was detected in the country, according to its president Dr. Benito Atienza.

The group will meet with the Department of Health on May 26 about the stock of booster shots and COVID-19 vaccines for children in specialty clinics and hospitals, he said.

Atienza, meantime, said the next health chief must be patient, understanding, and able to communicate with the masses.

"Dapat down to earth, nakaka-relate lalo na sa lower strata... parang si idol dating secretary Juan Flavier. Nakaka-communicate, nadadala ang sentimiyento ng ating mga mamamayan," he said in a televised briefing.

(They should be down to earth and can relate to the lower strata of our society... just like idol and former Secretary Juan Flavier. They must be able to communicate and carry the sentiment of the public.)

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