DOH thumbs down COVID-19 booster shots, for now

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2021 11:20 PM

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said Filipinos yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be "disenfranchised" if the government starts giving booster shots while vaccine supply remains unstable.

The government is considering both "equity and safety" at this point, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.

"Kapag nag-booster shots tayo ngayong unstable pa ang dating ng bakuna sa atin, we will be disenfranchising those who have not received any dose of vaccine yet," she said.

(We will be disenfranchising those who have not received any dose of vaccine yet if we administer booster shots while supply remains unstable.)

"Kung mag-uumpisa tayo ng booster shots, it's another allocation... na mawawala pa doon naman sa mga magkakaroon ng first dose pa lang nila," she said.

(If we start giving booster shots now, it's another allocation that could have been used for those who have not yet received their first dose.)

Vergeire added that the country's vaccine experts have yet to come up with a final recommendation on who should receive the booster shots, how often it should be given, and what brands should be procured.

"Hindi po natin sinasara ang pintuan natin. Alam po natin, mangyayari at mangyayari ang booster shots na ito," she said.

(We are not closing our doors on this. We now that sooner or later we will need booster shots.)

"We already have saved money for our booster shots for 2022 kung saka-sakali. Nakalagay na po yan sa aming prinopose na budget," she said.

(We already have saved money for our booster shots for 2022 just in case. We have already included it in our budget proposal.)

The Department of Budget and Management earlier said it has yet to find funds for the purchase of booster shots in 2022.

As of August 25, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 13.37 million individuals or 18.87 percent of the target 70.85 million.

About 18 million other Filipinos have received their first dose.