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7,000 to 13,000 expected to get 2nd booster shot

2nd COVID-19 booster shot. STORY: 7,000 to 13,000 expected to get 2nd booster shot

ADDITIONAL PROTECTION | Tourists in Baguio avail of booster shots for their children before the Holy Week. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is expecting 7,000 to 13,000 immunocompromised Filipinos to receive their second booster shot during the first day of the rollout on Monday.

At the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, chair of the National Vaccination Operations Center, said the country has about 690,000 immunocompromised individuals who had already received their first booster shot.

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“During the first day, we are expecting 7,000 to 13,000 who will have their second booster shot and we will have a nationwide roll out,” Cabotaje said.

On Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the health workers and senior citizens were not yet included in the initial roll out of the second booster pending review by the Health Technology Assessment Council.

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In a radio interview on Saturday, Cabotaje said the country’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines was enough for the rollout of the second booster shots.

“We have enough of vaccines for primary doses, first and second booster shots,” she said.

The DOH said only 12.6 million Filipinos have received their booster shot out of the 67.2 million fully vaccinated individuals in the country.

Earlier, the World Health Organization warned that the Philippines may have as much as 300,000 active COVID-19 cases by the middle of May if health protocols were ignored and the slow booster uptick would continue.

Cabotaje said the government would put up special vaccination sites in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after Ramadan because of the low vaccination rates.

The DOH, she said, were also monitoring various areas in the country such as Ilocos Norte, Kalinga, Quirino, Catanduanes, Olongapo City, Tarlac City, Angeles City and Eastern Samar for possible increases in COVID-19 cases.

Patriotic duty

At the same time, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion urged Filipinos to get their booster shots, adding that it should be considered a patriotic duty.

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“Filipinos have to think of the country. Boosters will help the country. There has to be something in them, a sense of duty to really take this booster shot,” Concepcion said in a statement.

“Our boosters, on the national level, are at only 13.7 percent. These vaccines are beginning to wane, especially for those who took it much earlier,” he added.

“Our wall of immunity might collapse if we don’t have enough people who are protected,” he said.

If that happens, Concepcion said the country might again experience a surge in cases and cause the economy to stall.

“When people are comfortable, they say ‘I’ll just take my booster when cases start going up,’ but not realizing that these vaccines are time-bound and the government has purchased it and it’s in the Philippines already,” Concepcion said.

“These multiple issues including low booster uptake are threatening to take away the freedoms we fought so hard to earn these past two years,” he said.

RELATED STORIES

2nd booster rolled out April 25 for those with comorbidities

DOH: Different vaccine brand as 2nd COVID-19 booster shot ‘more effective’

Don’t wait for another surge, get booster now – Concepcion

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