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Experts against booster shot, mixing vaccine brands

/ 04:52 AM August 02, 2021
Judiciary still determining completion date for COVID vaccination

FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled “AstraZeneca, Pfizer – Biontech, Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine” are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) has recommended against giving a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as well as mixing brands, citing a “paucity of evidence” to support such possible changes in the current policies.

An infectious diseases specialist from Israel also gave a similar advice to the Philippine government, following a five-day visit to discuss the pandemic response.

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Dr. Guy Choshen of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center said a third dose was irrelevant when the Philippines had inoculated only a small portion of its population, so far.

“My advice is to first, vaccinate with the first dose and the second dose of whatever [vaccine] you have and wait with this question for a later stage when most of the population [has been] vaccinated … The question of a third or booster vaccine is irrelevant at the moment …,” Choshen said in a press conference on Friday.

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The Israeli doctor offered the same recommendation for Filipino senior citizens, who are among the “special population” that local experts said would likely require a booster, following reports of waning immunity.

The Vaccine Expert Panel is expected to come out with a position on boosters, targeting the immunocompromised, such as the elderly, transplant patients and HIV-positive individuals.

In a statement on Sunday, PSMID said: “The need for and timing for COVID-19 booster doses has not been proven. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need a booster shot at this time. There is currently a paucity of evidence to support recommendations for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for the general population.”

On heterologous vaccination or mixing brands in the two-dose series: “We suggest that the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines be completed as recommended using the same product at the prescribed interval. There is currently insufficient data on using a different vaccine from that first dose to complete a primary series,” it said.

PSMID said it awaited the results of vaccine mix and match studies.

It said the evolving concerns with vaccine effectiveness stemmed from threats of newer SARS-CoV-2 variants and the risk of waning immunity after inoculation.

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TAGS: covid-19 vaccination, COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, PSMID
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