MANILA—The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has so far seen no waning effects of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the Philippines even after almost 6 months.
FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said only about 50 to 60 breakthrough infections were recorded among those fully vaccinated with Sinovac after 150 days.
"Hindi naman po dumadami 'yung incidence ng infections (The incidence of infections does not increase). We get about 60, 50 to 60 every month out of 10 million people who are vaccinated for example with Sinovac," Domingo said in a taped briefing aired late Monday.
Breakthrough infections refer to those who get infected with COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated.
"Ibig sabihin, at this time, wala pa po talagang pangangailangan na magbigay ng booster dahil pa naman po talaga tayo nakakakita ng waning effect nung vaccine. Dahil kung at 5th month makita nating bumababa na 'yung kaniyang protection, eh dapat dumadami po 'yung nagkakaroon ng breakthrough infection, pero hindi pa po natin nakikita 'yun at this time," he said.
(This means at this time we do not need to give booster shots, because we are not seeing any waning effect of the vaccine. If the effects are waning, we should see an increase in the number of breakthrough cases by the 5th month, but we still don't see that.)
A study by Chinese researchers released in July showed antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine declined below a key threshold from around 6 months after a second dose for most recipients, although a third shot had a strong booster effect.
A recent survey by the Department of Health (DOH) showed over 90 percent of health care workers are willing to get booster shots against COVID-19 if proven effective and recommended by experts.
Out of 20.3 million fully vaccinated Filipinos, only 516 had breakthrough infections, the FDA earlier said.
Philippine authorities have yet to approve the use of booster shots, following calls for vaccine top-ups for health workers.
However, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has said the country was considering giving booster shots to health care workers by November or December.