Gov't urged: Keep prioritizing unvaccinated older adults despite 3rd dose push

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2021 06:53 PM

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The COVID-19 immunization drive must keep prioritizing unvaccinated people aged 60 and over, despite the push for third jabs for some priority groups, the World Health Organization said on Monday. 

The WHO has recommended a third dose for senior citizens who received the Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines, as well as immunocompromised people, said the organization's country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe. 

"We recognize that they are not capable of developing and sustaining the level of immunity that will protect them from severe disease and death," he said in a televised public briefing. 

However, he clarified the WHO urges continued priority should be given to those who have not accessed the vaccines, and then start the third dose administration with the most elderly.

"In other words, our recommendation is we start with the most severely immunocompromised; we start with the over 80s, then move to the over 70s, and finally to the over 60s... so that we maximize the benefit of the third dose in those groups who will be receiving third dose," Abeyasinghe said. 

"But again, the priority is to provide the first and second doses to those who have not been able to get a single shot, which is about 3 million people unfortunately still in the Philippines among the elderly."

The Philippines has fully vaccinated at least 25.7 million out of its 109 million people. 

The health department last week said it was "planning" for third COVID-19 shots for health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks.