DOH: No booster shots yet for health workers
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and its advisers have decided not to authorize COVID-19 booster shots for healthcare workers for now.
“To date, evidence is insufficient and inconclusive to support the administration of booster doses,” the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) said in a statement during the DOH’s online consultative meetings with health-care workers from Sept. 20 to Sept. 21.
An independent advisory body to the DOH, the HTAC said they would “continuously consider changes in evidence in their review and recommendations.”
The consultative meetings were also attended by members of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and Technical Advisory Group.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH was not completely against giving health-care workers extra COVID-19 vaccine shots.
“While we support the administration of booster shots among our health-care workers, more evidence is needed to show the safety and benefits of administering booster doses,” she said.
“Furthermore, with scarce vaccine supply, the government has to increase the primary series coverage among high-risk groups,” she added.
The DOH also presented a “root-cause analysis” done by hospital infection prevention and control committees on the causes of COVID-19 infection among health-care workers.
The four main causes of infection, according to the DOH, are the weak enforcement of infection prevention and control standards; improper wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment; breaks in administrative control such as the use of public transport and having to go out for food during duty; and behavior such as eating together in the pantry.
Hospitals and workplaces should try to adopt staggered meal schedules, Vergeire said.
“Eating alone in the workstation is highly encouraged. Dining in canteens may be allowed provided that employees shall strictly comply with the physical distancing of at least 1 meter and shall be prohibited from talking with each other,” she added.
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