DOH on COVID booster shots: Not enough vaccine supply; insufficient data on benefits | Inquirer News
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DOH on COVID booster shots: Not enough vaccine supply; insufficient data on benefits

/ 01:18 PM July 10, 2021
COVID-19 vaccination campaign

A health worker receives the Sinovac Biotech’s Coronavac vaccine on the first day of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) inoculation drive in the Philippines, at the Lung Center of the Philippines, Quezon City, Metro Manila, March 1, 2021. (REUTERS)

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s COVID-19 vaccine supply is still unstable for the government to provide booster shots to fully vaccinated individuals, a health official said Saturday.

“Now that our vaccines are still unstable pagdating sa supply, bigyan po natin ng chance na makapag-bakuna tayo sa lahat ng kailangang bakunahan sa ating bansa,” Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a Laging Handa briefing.

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(Now that our supply of vaccines is still unstable, we should be given the chance to vaccinate all those who need to be vaccinated in the country.)

She pointed out that if the government administers booster shots to already vaccinated individuals, those who have yet to receive the jab will end up waiting longer before they get inoculated.

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“Kapag naglagay po tayo ng booster shots, this means that we are going to set aside ito pong mga taong ‘di pa nababakunahan mula pa nang nagumpisa tayong mabakunahan,” she said.

(If we allow booster shots, this means we are going to set aside those people who have yet to receive their vaccine since the government started its inoculation program.)

Vergeire was asked if the country will adopt the same practice being eyed by Indonesia and Thailand, which are considering giving booster shots for their health care workers after thousands of them contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine.

“Ang booster shots po ay wala pang masyadong sufficient evidence na lumalabas, especially dito po sa mga platforms sa bakuna na meron tayo sa ating bansa katulad ng Sinovac, ng Sputnik V,” Vergeire said.

(There has yet to be sufficient evidence about giving booster shots, especially with the vaccine platforms being used in the jabs that we have like Sinovac and Sputnik V.)

She said the government needs to be cautious in giving booster shots to ensure the safety of the public.

“Kailangan po natin masiguro na magiging safe ito para sa ating populasyon. Sa ngayon po, ang ating experto ay hindi pa inirerekomenda itong booster shots na ito,” the DOH official said.

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(We need to make sure that this will be safe for our population. For now, our experts are not yet recommending the use of booster shots.)

“Wala pa naman pong nakakapaglabas pa ng full evidence to state na hanggang ganito lang katagal tatagal ang immunity na binibigay ng ating bakuna o ‘di kaya if it’s really going to boost the efficacy of these vaccine kapag naglagay ka ng booster,” she added.

(There’s yet to be full evidence regarding the duration of the immunity that our vaccines have as well as if giving booster shots will really boost the efficacy of these vaccines.)

Once there is sufficient evidence supporting the need for booster doses, Vergeire said the DOH will study it and make the appropriate recommendation.

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TAGS: booster shots, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, DoH, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire
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