PH gov't urged to shorten wait for COVID vaccine booster shots


Posted at Dec 15 2021 05:17 PM | Updated as of Dec 15 2021 10:53 PM

MANILA - Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion and OCTA Research fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco urged the government Wednesday to give COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as early as four months after the second dose. 

"We recommend that the national government consider shortening the interval between the second dose and the booster dose from 6 months to 4 months," Concepcion and Austriaco said in a joint statement during a townhall meeting organized by Go Negosyo. 

Citing what they called "significant" data, the two said that acquired immunity from COVID-19 vaccines significantly decreased at around five months or sooner depending on the vaccine brand. 

Austriaco added that the Philippines already has enough vaccines for a booster campaign. 

Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. previously said he expected the country to have more than 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of December. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III meanwhile said the government was looking into speeding up the administration of booster shots. 

Concepcion and Austriaco also warned that the omicron COVID-19 variant is far more infectious and immune-evasive, and is expected to cause a surge in cases once it enters the Philippines. 

Health authorities detected the country's first two omicron cases on Wednesday. 

Concepcion and Austriaco called for continued focus on increasing immunity in cities and first-class municipalities to delay the spread of omicron to the countryside. 

"The significant population protection in the urban regions of our country will also help to shield our farming communities and our kababayans living in the countryside, many of whom have not yet been vaccinated," they said.