Leachon urges gov’t: Do a regulatory update on definition of full vaccination
MANILA, Philippines — While agreeing to the proposal of presidential adviser Joey Concepcion to require COVID-19 booster cards in enclosed establishments, health reform advocate Dr. Tony Leachon said the government should first update the definition of full vaccination.
Leachon, a former special adviser to the National Task Force on COVID-19, said on Friday that full vaccination should be redefined to include the primary vaccination series and a booster shot for healthy individuals, and primary vaccination and two booster shots for high-risk individuals.
“I would like to agree to a certain extent, but I think it would be wise to first educate the public and first do a regulatory update of the definition of the full vaccination,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart when asked about the proposal of Concepcion.
“With the more transmissible sub-variant of Omicron XE and the BA.2 that have been circulating in Europe and Southeast Asia, I think the definition of fully vaccinated would show two primary vaccine plus one booster, and then for the high-risk individuals, two primary vaccines and two boosters,” Leachon said.
Leachon added: “Once the public has been educated about this, then there would be lesser resistance for all of these persuasive or coercive measures in order to really ramp up on the boosters.”
“Dapat baguhin na natin ang (We should change the) definition ng (of) full vaccination and it should be three doses,” he added.
Meanwhile, Leachon also noted that the full approval of COVID-19 vaccines may further boost public confidence to take up boosters. At present, COVID-19 vaccines in the country are only under emergency use authorization.
He also noted that the more compelling reason for the people to get booster shots is the waning immunity of vaccines.
“The more compelling reason is the scientific reason—the waning immunity—based on the Israel study and US FDA approval, that the third shot will actually wane its effect or immunity on the third to the sixth month,” he said.
“Majority kasi ng nagpabakuna was in the last quarter of 2021. If you’re gonna count, it will be actually in July na magwe-wane ang immunity. So we should not wait for that time, kasi ang hirap magbakuna during the rainy season,” he pointed out.
(Most were vaccinated in the last quarter of 2021. If you’re gonna count, the immunity will wane in July. We should not wait for that time because it is hard to vaccinate during the rainy season.)
National Vaccination Operations Center Chairperson and Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje earlier said the Department of Health is reviewing the proposal to include COVID-19 booster shots as part of the primary vaccination series.
As of April 4, 66.2 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated but only 12.2 million have so far received their booster dose.
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