Philippines OKs COVID-19 booster shots for outgoing OFWs

Philippines OKs COVID-19 booster shots for outgoing OFWs
A health worker prepares a dose of the BioNtech Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination for seafarers at a stadium in Manila on July 15, 2021.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers who are set for deployment may soon receive COVID-19 booster doses, an official said Saturday.

This, after the government’s pandemic task force approved the proposal to administer booster shots to OFWs set for deployment within four months.

“[This is] in order to maintain our competitive advantage as well as to protect the much needed livelihood of our OFWs and seafarers for them to secure foreign deployment and contract,” National Task Force against COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla in a Laging Handa briefing.

The government, however, has yet to specify an effectivity date for the inoculation of migrant workers.  

Padilla said the general protocols for the administration of booster shots will still be followed.

“If you were vaccinated six months ago or more, that will qualify you for a booster shot. But if your vaccination was just last month, you cannot be given a booster dose,” he said.

Early this week, the Philippines began administration of booster shots to healthcare workers. They are allowed to choose the brand of their booster, depending on the availability of jabs in vaccination sites.

The government has yet to offer booster doses to the general population. The Department of Health said the rollout of boosters to other priority groups will be implemented on a phased approach.

Since the government started the vaccination drive in March, 32.99 million Filipinos have completed vaccination against COVID-19, while 40.92 million have received partial protection. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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