Malacañang says no COVID-19 booster shots for health workers just yet
MANILA, Philippines — Health workers may not get their COVID-19 booster shots just yet despite the continuously rising number of coronavirus infections in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has yet to issue its final decision regarding the matter.
He said there is only a recommendation from the country’s vaccine experts panel to give booster shots to health workers for their additional protection, especially with the presence of the more contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants such as Delta.
“Wala pang decision na magkaroon ng COVID-19 booster shots para sa mga health workers. Mayroon lang recommendation pa lang ang vaccine experts’ panel and it is still up for review,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
(There is no decision yet to give booster shots to health workers. What we have is just a recommendation from the vaccine experts’ panel and it is still up for review.)
“Nag-recommend lang po ang vaccine experts panel na bigyan ng booster shots ang ating health care workers, wala pang decision ang IATF,” he added.
(The vaccine experts’ panel has only recommended giving booster shots to health workers, the IATF still has no decision.)
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a moratorium on giving out COVID-19 booster injections until the end of 2021 because millions worldwide remain unable to get even a single dose of the vaccine against COVID-19.
WHO Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe earlier said the moratorium is needed to address vaccine inequity among countries, saying it is not yet “the time for booster.”
So far, about 17 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 22 million have already received at least one dose.
Talks on booster shots were bolstered when the COVID-19 Delta variant started to spread in the country as there were reports that antibodies developed by China-made vaccines “wane” after about six months.
In the early stages of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, health workers mostly received the Sinovac vaccine since it was the only brand available at the time.
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