MANILA - The Department of Health is "planning" for a third shot of COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers, the elderly, and persons with comorbidities, the agency's spokesperson said Monday.
The emergency use authority given to pharmaceutical companies must be amended for a third dose, said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"We are already planning for this. We are preparing actually kasi nasabi naman talaga, base sa ebidensiya at saka sa recommendation ng WHO (World Health Organization)... ang recommendation sa ngayon ay additional doses for immunocompromised individuals, senior citizens and healthcare workers," Vergeire told reporters.
(We are already planning for this. We are preparing actually because it has been said, based on evidence and the recommendation of the Who... the recommendation for now is additional doses for immunocompromised individuals, senior citizens and healthcare workers.)
"These third doses, mangyayari lang po kapag nakapaglabas ang FDA ng emergency use authority... Kailangan yan ma-amyendahan para makapag-umpisa tayo nitong sinasabi nating third doses para sa mga piling sector sa ating bansa."
(These third doses can be administered if the FDA issues an amended emergency use authority for the vaccine products. It's necessary to amend the EUA before we can start administering third doses for select sectors in our country.)
The third dose is part of the vaccine's primary series, while a booster shot is given to persons who have received the former, Vergeire said.
"When we talk about boosters, ito yung naka-receive na ng primary series bakuna... pero may ebidensiya na magpapakita na bumababa na ang immunity nung individual na yun, that's why you need a booster," she said.
(These individuals have received the primary series of vaccines... but evidence showed that the individual's immunity has weakened, that's why you need a booster.)
"As compared to the additional doses or the third dose, ito ay binibigay (these are given) as part of the primary series."
More than 24.3 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated against the disease, while nearly 28 million others have received their first dose.
The government aims to fully vaccinate more than 77 million to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.