DOH open to new jabs, but sees no need yet
MANILA, Philippines — Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government would consider procuring bivalent COVID-19 vaccines as long as studies find sufficient evidence about their effectiveness.
“We are always open — the government and the DOH [Department of Health] — to new technologies. When evidence say that the reformulated vaccines will be more beneficial to the population, we will [push] for it,” Vergeire said in an online press conference on Tuesday.
But Vergeire emphasized that the regulatory-approved vaccines with their current formulation remain effective against the different variants and subvariants detected in the country.
“Based on studies and experts’ recommendations, the primary series and boosters that we are administering can still fight [the virus]. Our vaccines’ current formulation is [still effective,]” said the health spokesperson.
Recent samples from the genome sequencing run conducted by the Philippine Genome Center were mostly of the BA.5 strain.
BA.5, one of the Omicron sublineages that originated in South Africa, has shown a potential to break through immunity, initial studies showed. It was also found to be about 30 percent more transmissible than earlier COVID-19 strains.
Biotechnology company Moderna has been developing two bivalent vaccine candidates specifically formulated to work against the more transmissible Omicron variant that had triggered surges in various countries, including the Philippines.
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