DOH: COVID-19 booster jabs OK after 50 pct of population inoculated

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2021 01:36 PM

Ride-hailing service drivers receive COVID-19 vaccines as part of Grab Philippines'
Ride-hailing service drivers receive COVID-19 vaccines as part of Grab Philippines' "Vacc to Normal" campaign at its newly launched vaccination facility at the Wilcon IT hub in Makati City on September 01, 2021. Grab drivers and riders, who are considered economic frontliners, are part of the government’s A4 priority group. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA– At least 50 percent of the population should first be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before government starts administering booster jabs, the Department of Health said Saturday.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it was an estimate coming from experts, adding that this should be considered out of fairness for people who have not been vaccinated with a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine. 

"Ang ilang eksperto tinatalaga na at least 50 percent ay sana mabakunahan na para hindi madisenfrenchise ang mga taong hindi nababakuahan kahit isang dose kung tayo ay sasabak sa booster dosing," Vergeire said. 

(Some experts estimate that 50 percent of the population should be vaccinated first so people who have not been vaccinated with a single dose will not be disenfranchised if we start with booster dosing.) 

Vergeire also reiterated that population protection must first be achieved and cover vaccinations of the most vulnerable sectors such as health care workers and people with comorbidities. 

Data from the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group shows that as of September 1, 34,112,320 vaccine doses have been administered. 

Of the number, around 14,109,916 individuals are fully vaccinated, accounting for 19.91 percent of the target needed to achieve herd immunity. 

Courtesy of PTV 

Philippine experts will decide on whether COVID-19 booster shots are needed to curb the ongoing transmission of the disease next week. The government also earlier said it would set aside a budget for booster jabs next year. 

"Pag-uusapan ngayong Lunes at magbibigay ulit ng rekomendasyon ang DOH," Vergeire said. 

(We will talk about this on Monday and give a recommendation.) 

Other countries have adopted the practice of giving booster shots to fully-vaccinated individuals with the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant. 

But the World Health Organization said that they have yet to see any evidence that these are effective, urging countries to "hold back" from booster dosing their population.