DOH agrees on annual Covid-19 shots to beat mutating virus | Inquirer News
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DOH agrees on annual Covid-19 shots to beat mutating virus

/ 01:00 PM February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — There could be a need to vaccinate people against Covid-19 yearly or in a longer interval considering that the new coronavirus that causes the disease is mutating, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

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Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this in agreement to the remark of Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky in a CNBC interview that people may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually over the next several years, like seasonal flu shots.

According to Vergeire, even local experts have said that the period of effectivity of available Covid-19 vaccines remains uncertain.

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“Kahit naman noong umpisa pa lang sinasabi na ng mga eksperto natin na because we are not really sure of the vaccines immunity na ibibigay sa atin, so it might be na mayroong posibilidad na baka ibibigay natin every year or every two years or three years depende sa makikita natin sa datos,” she said in an online press briefing.

(Even at the start, our experts have been telling us that we are not sure of the period of immunity that we can get from the vaccines, so it is possible that we can give it every year or every two or three years, depending on the data that will come.)

Vergeire explained that vaccine manufacturers need to continuously adjust so that their products will still be effective against new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.

However, she also said that the need to vaccinate people regularly against Covid-19 will still have to be based on data.

While there are some initial studies noting that the vaccines could be effective for months, Vergeire said that these findings are still not final as of now.

She added that the length of effectivity of the vaccines will also be monitored in the post-marketing surveillance that will be done by the government.

Malacañang earlier said that the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from the global vaccine sharing scheme Covax is expected to arrive in the country by mid-February. The initial shipment from the procurement pool would be 117,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which would be given to healthcare workers in select hospitals.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 Vaccine, Department of Health, Johnson & Johnson
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