PH to administer COVID-19 boosters for elderly on 'National Vaccination Day'

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2021 09:06 AM | Updated as of Nov 17 2021 09:11 AM

Health workers administer the COVID-19 vaccine during an inoculation program at the San Juan Arena on March 30, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Health workers administer the COVID-19 vaccine during an inoculation program at the San Juan Arena on March 30, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—The government is looking into administering booster shots for elderly during the 3-day national vaccination drive, which is set on Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, the country's vaccine expert panel said Wednesday.

Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the DOST’s vaccine development expert panel, said senior citizens could also avail of additional doses earlier depending on the rollout of booster shots for health-care workers.

"Sa ngayon, ang sinasabi nga nila ang A2 baka mag-umpisa doon sa national immunization day dates," she told TeleRadyo.

(For now, they're saying [the administration of booster shots for] A2 might start during the national immunization day dates.)

Booster doses may be given to individuals with comorbidities or the A3 group in early December, Gloriani said.

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The government on Wednesday started administering additional COVID-19 jabs to fully-vaccinated health-care workers.

The state drug regulator has approved at least 4 vaccine brands for booster use—Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac as homologous third dose and Sputnik Light as heterologous third dose.

The Department of Health earlier said health-care workers could receive either Moderna, Pfizer or Sinovac vaccine brands for booster doses "regardless of the brand used for the primary series."

"'Pag sinabing booster, within a week, tataas iyong antibody. 'Yan 'yung immunologic basis na talagang mabilis. Dahil tataas 'yung antibody mo, you would expect na mas mataas ang protection mo," Gloriani said.

(If we say booster, within a week, your antibody will increase. That's the immunologic basis. Because your antibody increased, you would expect to have higher protection.)

The Philippines has inoculated over 70 million people since it began giving the anti-virus jab in March.

The government started a gradual easing of restrictions in parts of the country this month as it has fully vaccinated 41 percent of its adult population or more than 31.8 million people.

The country recorded 849 fresh cases for Tuesday. It has recorded a total of 2,819,341 infections, with 45,808 deaths so far.