MANILA — Some 132,000 people received their first booster against COVID-19 during the 3-day "Bakunahang Bayan," the Department of Health said Friday.
"We were able to vaccinate first booster doses to 132,770 individuals nationwide," DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.
Vaccination coverage among the 5 to 11 age group has also increased to 49.3 percent. The government's target for this group is 10.8 million.
"For our 5-11 years old, we were able to vaccinate an additional 33,239," Vergeire added.
The special inoculation drive, held from Dec. 5 to 7, aims to increase booster uptake and vaccination coverage in the pediatric population.
Latest DOH figures show that 73.6 million Filipino are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of the figure, 20.9 million have received their additional jab.
ANNUAL COVID SHOTS?
In the briefing, Vergeire said she was not discounting possibility that COVID-19 vaccines could be annual as the virus continues to mutate and spawn new variants.
She noted that immunity from the COVID-19 primary series wanes over time.
A new jab called bivalent vaccine, which targets the original virus and the Omicron variants, is also being developed, Vergeire added.
The European Medicines Agency has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
The Amsterdam-based regulator has also decided that the 2 vaccines "may be used for primary (initial) vaccination. These vaccines are currently only authorized as boosters."
They can be used for both adults and children.
"The evidence is continuously evolving. It is not really impossible that we will have additional vaccines in the future or maybe we can have this as a regular as possible," Vergeire said.
The World Health Organization has estimated that 90 percent of the world population now had some resistance to COVID-19, but warned that a troubling new variant could still emerge.
Countries have reported 6.6 million deaths to the WHO, from nearly 640 million registered cases.
As of Dec. 8, the Philippines has 17,994 active COVID-19 cases.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse