DOH: Do not use doses for primary vaccination as booster shots vs COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday urged vaccine administrators to not redistribute doses allocated for the primary series to augment the supply of their booster shots against COVID-19.
The primary vaccination series refers to the number of doses prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration, and this can either be a two-dose or one-dose requirement.
The DOH issued this reminder as the government started giving booster doses to eligible healthcare workers or HCWs.
“Our primary consideration is still to finish [the administration of] our primary doses, so what we urge the different areas is not to redistribute the existing vaccines from the primary series to the booster series,” said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje during an online briefing.
“We do not want to be hearing that they locked the vaccines for primary doses, because we have reserved…the booster doses and we’d like to emphasize our priority is still A1 [which] we are already boosting,” she added.
The roll-out of booster shots for fully-vaccinated HCWs begins today, November 17. Cabotaje assured there is enough supply of vaccines for boosters.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated that getting the booster doses is voluntary.
“Hindi po ito required, hindi minamandato sa ating (This is not required, this is not mandated for) healthcare workers. As long as you have already gotten primary series or dalawang doses ng bakuna (of COVID-19 shots), you are already considered fully vaccinated. Again, [this is] voluntary, that’s why we are giving you options,” she said.
She added that only qualified HCWs may receive booster shots right now.
“Maguumpisa tayo sa (We will start giving boosters to) healthcare workers,” said Vergeire, adding that other sectors including senior citizens and individuals with co-morbidities will have the option to avail of boosters soon or once detailed guidelines are released.
The DOH has previously said that health workers can only receive a COVID-19 booster shot after at least six months of finishing a two-dose vaccine regimen and three months after receiving a single-dose vaccine.
Approved COVID-19 booster shots for healthcare workers include single doses of Pfizer, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca and half the regular dose of the Moderna vaccine.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.