Philippines shortens COVID-19 booster interval

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2021 11:35 PM

Senior citizens receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at the Filoil San Juan Arena in San Juan City on December 03, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Senior citizens receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at the Filoil San Juan Arena in San Juan City on December 03, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Beginning on Wednesday, administration of COVID-19 booster shots in the Philippines will be allowed 3 months after the second dose, the Department of Health announced.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a statement Tuesday, said the Food and Drug Administration has approved the recommendation of the Philippines' vaccine expert panel to shorten the interval for the administration of booster doses, from the previous 6-month period.

Boosters can also be given at least two months after the primary single-dose vaccine is given, according to Duque.

“We are exploring all possible options to safely mitigate the effects of more transmissible variants of COVID-19. The approval came at an opportune time as several countries also re-strategized in light of the Omicron and other COVID-19 variants that may emerge,” he said.

Duque reiterated his call to LGUs to encourage constituents to get the COVID-19 shots, especially unvaccinated senior citizens and people with comorbidities who are more likely to contract severe coronavirus. 

"Ensuring enough coverage of the primary series while adhering to the minimum public health standards are crucial if we want to maintain low to minimal risk classification and have adequate health systems capacities especially during the holiday season," he said.

The FDA earlier allowed the use of Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer as COVID-19 booster shots for individuals who received their second vaccine dose at least 6 months prior or 3 months prior for those who received a jab of Janssen.

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 43.5 million out of its target of 54 million before yearend.

Some 56.3 million others have received an initial dose while 1.15 million additional doses or booster shots have been administered as of Sunday, according to data gathered by the ABS-CBN IRG.

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