MANILA - A booster or third shot of any brand of vaccines against COVID-19 may help increase a person’s immunity but it is still not allowed in the Philippines for now, a health expert said Friday.
“May enough data na abroad na nagbibigay ng third dose dahil ang iba bumaba na ang immunity after 6 months. Pero bawal po yan sa ngayon pero alam naming nangyayari hindi lang isang kaso po yan, marami po yan,” said Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the Vaccine Expert Panel.
(There’s enough data abroad that gives third dose because the immunity goes down after 6 months. But that is not allowed for now but we also know that that is happening.)
In an interview on TeleRadyo, Gloriani said all of the vaccines against COVID-19 approved for use in the Philippines have good safety profile.
However, there is no recommendation yet to have a booster or third vaccine shot as the country is still ramping up vaccination of priority sectors like health workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and individuals with comorbidities (A3).
“Pumupunta sa LGU (local government unit), sa LGU dalawang doses tapos meron sila sa company, kasi meron po tayong tripartite agreement. So doon sa company i-oofefr sa kanila. Pero sinasabi namin sana yung nasa companies ibigay na lang, idonate doon sa mga hindi pa nabibigyan ng kahit isang bakuna,” Gloriani said.
(They go to the LGU, and the LGU offers 2 doses and their company also offers them because we have a tripartite agreement. We hope that their companies just donate the vaccines to those who have yet to get a single dose.)
San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora has admitted to receiving 4 shots of the COVID-19 vaccines. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the lawmaker was advised to take a booster shot because of “serious comorbidities.”
Gloriani said that while Philippines has no adequate vaccine supply, doses should be given to those who have yet to receive any.
“Ang daming magbobooster, ang daming wala pa kahit isa,” she said.
(A lot of people want to get a booster shot but there are still many who does not have even a single dose.)
Gloriani reminded the public that all the approved vaccines are under an emergency use authorization and has very specific provisions of 2 doses.
“Kung may mangyari sa inyo na side effects merong indemnification yung serious adverse effect na tinatawag pero under those conditions. Kung nagdagdag kayo kung magkaroon ng sakit, magkaraoon kayo ng reaction na severe hindi po yun maka-cover dahil under EUA dalawa lang ang sinabi. Yun siguro ang caveat dun,” sabi niya.
(If you experience side effects, there is an indemnification for serious adverse effect but under those conditions. If you add more, get sick, developed severe reaction, that will not be covered because under the EUA, it states only 2 doses. That’s probably the caveat there.)
Meanwhile, Gloriani said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating the use of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine among children.
“Ang merong EUA for the age group 12 years and above ay ang Pfizer lang po sa ngayon dito sa Pilipinas. Pero may data ang Sinovac, meron silang study na ginawa sa China sa 3 to 17 years old and maganda naman ang resulta nun. In fact, nag apply sila at tinitingnan na ng FDA yung kanilang application pero meron silang gagawing clinical trial dito sa age group na ito—3 to 17 years old,” she said.
(Pfizer has an EUA in the Philippines for the age group 12 years old and above. But Sinovac has a study in China for the 3 to 17 years old and it has good results. In fact, they applied and the FDA is studying their application and they will conduct clinical trial for the age group 3 to 17 years old.)
She said they are waiting for FDA to decide on it. Gloriani said they support the conduct of a clinical trial in the Philippines.
“Para sa amin meron na po kaming rekomendasyon, para meron po tayong local data kasi yung safety at ito ba makaka-illicit ng antibodies,” she said.
(For us we already have a recommendation so that we’ll have local data to determine the safety and if it will illicit antibodies.)