The Philippines is planning to start its COVID-19 booster and third shots rollout on November 15, Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced.
“Iyong ating first phase po, iro-roll out po natin ay para sa health workers at ito po ay magkakaroon tayo ng guidelines sa November 5. Ang ating projected implementation is Nov. 15,” Galvez said in a taped meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has approved the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), in which Filipinos will be inoculated with booster shots. (Read: Common COVID-19 Vaccine Fake News And Myths–Debunked!)
Who will receive the booster and third shots?
The COVID-19 booster and third shots will be administered to healthcare workers and senior citizens vaccinated at least six months ago as recommended by HTAC.
Galvez also said that the government aims to include at least 90% of teachers, students, and school personnel and 50% of the target population in priority areas such as Calabarzon and Central Luzon in the rollout.
The vaccination rollout will be operated in two tracks. The first will consist of first and second doses to unvaccinated individuals who are part of the eligible population. The second will entail giving an additional dose to healthcare workers and senior citizens.
Meanwhile, the remaining priority groups A3 to A5 may be able to receive boosters in 2022. (Read: YouTube Bans Content Spreading Misinformation About COVID-19 Vaccines)
Experts are still examining the application to amend the authorization of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sputnik V to allow its use as a booster shot or additional COVID-19 dose.
According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Eric Domingo, the FDA is studying mixing and matching certain COVID-19 vaccine brands for booster shots, as requested by the DOH.
He reiterated that the officials are reviewing the safety and efficacy of mixing the full dose AstraZeneca and Pfizer as the third dose, Sinovac and Pfizer or AstraZeneca, and Moderna and Pfizer as the COVID-19 booster shot. (Read: Survey Says More Filipinos Now Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine)
The access and availability of booster and third shots will depend on the supply and regulatory approvals. The DOH is waiting for the advice and recommendation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts, expected to by mid-November.