MANILA - Healthcare workers can only get one booster shot regardless of the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they received for the first two doses, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
"Kahit anong brand, kahit anong primary dose na nakuha niyo, talagang 'yung additional dose ay isang dose lang. Hindi po parang inuulit-ulit ang pagbabakuna," FDA Director General Eric Domingo said in an interview with Teleradyo.
("Whatever brand they got for their primary doses, only one additional dose will be inoculated as a booster shot. It won't be two new shots, as if you are getting re-vaccinated.")
The Department of Health released a matrix for recommended booster combinations for priority group A1 which includes workers in frontline health services Wednesday morning.
In the matrix, healthcare workers who were inoculated with Pfizer for their first two shots may get another shot of Pfizer as a booster for a homologous combination, or get Astrazeneca or Moderna for a heterologous combination.
Those who received Moderna shots for their initial series of doses may be inoculated with another Moderna shot, or get Astrazeneca or Pfizer as boosters.
Individuals who received Astrazeneca shots may get Pfizer and Moderna as booster shots, but can also avail another Astrazeneca shot as a booster, but with precautions based on the Emergency Use Authority.
The Department of Health guidelines discourage getting another Astrazeneca dose, as the immunity the first two doses of the vaccine created within the body may affect the immune response of the second or third dose.
Sinovac is the only vaccine brand not recommended for a booster heterologous combination. Only those who received it as their first two doses can avail of the brand as a booster.
Recipients of Gamaleya Sputnik and Janssen vaccines however, are not recommended to get homologous booster combinations, or the same brand as their booster, but are advised to get Astrazeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna.
Booster shots can only be received six months after the second dose of Sinovac, Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, and Gamaleya Sputnik.
Only recipients of Janssen vaccines can get a booster shot after at least three months.
Other brands of vaccines such as Novovax have yet to get their Emergency Use Authorization according to USec. Domingo, and so cannot yet be procured by the government for inoculation in the Philippines.
Domingo said that healthcare workers are allowed to choose their preferred vaccine brand as a booster, depending on the supply that will be delivered to hospitals.
The country begins vaccinating healthcare workers with booster shots Wednesday, November 17.