DOH investigating reports of COVID-19 booster recipients


Posted at Jul 14 2021 08:50 AM | Updated as of Jul 14 2021 12:13 PM

DOH investigating reports of COVID-19 booster recipients 1
A man with a tattoo of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun, gets his first dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the SM Mall of Asia Giga Vaccination Center in Pasay City on June 23, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—The Department of Health is looking into reports that some people have received COVID-19 booster shots in the country, even though it has not recommended those.

"Gusto natin malaman saan ba galing ang mga bakunang ito. Gusto natin rin po malaman kung ano po 'yung naging proseso kung bakit tayo nagkaroon nitong booster," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Teleradyo.

(We want to find out where the vaccines came from. We also want to find out the process on why they received booster.)

Vergeire warned that medical workers would face sanctions if the anti-virus jabs came from the government vaccination sites.

On Monday, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora acknowledged he was vaccinated against COVID-19 4 times, of which the 2 doses he said were "bootleg".

Zamora said he received 2 vaccine doses developed by Chinese state firm Sinopharm in December last year. The Philippines only started its vaccination program in March.

Because he was "immunodeficient," the doctors told him he should get 2 booster shots from Pfizer-BioNTech, he said.

Vergeire reminded the public that the DOH was not recommending yet the use of booster shots.

"Wala pa tayong sapat na ebidensiya para makapagbigay ng appropriate recommendation for booster shots, dahil hindi pa kompleto ang mga pinag-aaralan internationally and even here locally," she said.

(We don't have sufficient evidence to give an appropriate recommendation for booster shots, because studies conducted internationally and here locally are not yet complete.)

As of July 11, the Philippines has administered more than 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which more than 9.6 million were given as first dose. 

Government aims to inoculate 58 million Filipinos by year-end to reach herd immunity but only 3.5 million people were fully vaccinated or 6.08 percent of the government's target.

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