MANILA— Land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers set for deployment may soon be administered with COVID-19 booster shots, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced Saturday.
“IATF already decided to provide boosters to our OFWs and seafarers who are about to be deployed within 4 months,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the IATF requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make the necessary inclusions and amendments to rules to include migrant workers as priority for booster shots.
Government so far allows booster shots to be given those in the top priority sectors: health workers, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities.
The rest of the population may be scheduled for boosters later.
“We may include the remaining A4, A5 and the General Population starting December or next year when we've reached the threshold of more than 50% [of the population who have] received their second dose,” he said.
The A4 category covers essential workers while the A5 group includes indigents.
Galvez said government will give boosters first to those who were vaccinated starting in March.
“'Yung July 2021 vaccinees onwards, sa January na,” he said.
(Those vaccinated from July 2021 onwards will be scheduled for January.)
The FDA earlier said that health care workers or those under the A1 category can only get one booster shot regardless of the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they received for the first two doses.
Booster shots can only be received six months after the second dose of Sinovac, Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, and Gamaleya Sputnik COVID-19 vaccines.
Only recipients of the single-shot Janssen vaccine can get a booster shot after at least three months.
The country began vaccinating health care workers with booster shots Wednesday, November 17.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate at least 54 million of the country's eligible population by the end of the year.
As of Thursday, the country has fully vaccinated nearly 33 million individuals, while almost 41 million are partially immunized from the respiratory disease.
— reports from Vivienne Gulla and Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News