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Philippines starts rollout of COVID-19 booster shots, third doses

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Philippines starts rollout of COVID-19 booster shots, third doses
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III administers a COVID-19 booster shot to Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the government’s Vaccine Expert Panel, during the ceremonial vaccination at East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City on November 22, 2021
PTV / Mark Fetalco

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Monday started giving COVID-19 booster shots for the elderly as well as third doses for the immunocompromised, nearly nine months into its inoculation drive. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III led the administering of the jabs at a ceremonial vaccination at East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City. 

Authorities opened COVID-19 booster shots last week starting with health workers. In a separate briefing, Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said the rollout would be done in phases. 

“May we just remind the public that this is still only for health care workers, senior citizens who are 60 years old and above, and immunocompromised individuals in the A3,” she said in mixed English and Filipino.

Among the priority group for persons with comorbidities, Vergeire said those eligible to get third doses so far are: 

  • those in immunodeficiency state
  • people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • with active cancer or malignancy
  • transplant recipients
  • patients under immunosuppresives 
  • dialysis patients

Those not in the list would be part of the rollout’s second phase, the health official added. 

But as the country begins giving out booster and third doses, Vergeire stressed the focus should remain on administering the primary series on the unvaccinated.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has sought to assure that the Philippines’s vaccine stockpile is enough for the two efforts.

“We have enough doses of vaccine brands,” he said during the ceremonial booster rollout. “We have allocated six to eight million [doses] for senior citizens and with comorbidities, excluding the 1.6 million we have for health workers.”

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared four vaccine brands as booster shots and third doses, namely: Sinovac, Astrazeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna. 

There are now 33.57 million Filipinos fully vaccinated for COVID-19, latest data showed. 

The figure is out of the 77.13 million the government targets to inoculate this year to meet “population protection.”

Some 41.99 million, meanwhile, have received a first dose.

COVID-19 VACCINES

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 18, 2022 - 3:39pm

A new thread on the Philippines' vaccination program in 2021 in the government's revised objective to reach "population protection." Bookmark our COVID-19 and Vaccination Dashboard for the latest figures on the pandemic in the Philippines. — Main image: The STAR/Michael Varcas, file

May 18, 2022 - 3:39pm

Senior citizens and frontline health workers may now get their second booster shots, particularly mRNA jabs such as Moderna and Pfizer, the Department of Health announces. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

February 11, 2022 - 5:55pm

The Department of Health – 9 (DOH) reported a very low turnout for the third phase of the National Vaccination Day against COVID-19 in the Zamboanga Peninsula region.

Angeline Jaldon, DOH-9 information officer, said based on the report of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU), only 16,976 or 10% of their target 169,764 eligible individuals showed up.

Jaldon said the low turnout was attributed to complacency and lack of interest to get inoculated.

The DOH regional office is looking into what strategies local government units used to convince constitutents to get vaccinated.

The low turnout may also have kept Zamboanga Peninsula among the areas in Mindanao at high risk from COVID-19. —The STAR/Roel Pareño

February 11, 2022 - 5:05pm

The Department of Health – 9 (DOH) reported a very low turnout for the third phase of the National Vaccination Day against COVID-19 in the Zamboanga Peninsula region.

Angeline Jaldon, DOH-9 information officer, said based on the report of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU), only 16,976 or 10% of their target 169,764 eligible individuals showed up.

Jaldon said the low turnout was attributed to complacency and lack of interest to get inoculated.

The DOH regional office is looking into what strategies local government units used to convince constitutents to get vaccinated.

The low turnout may also have kept Zamboanga Peninsula among the areas in Mindanao at high risk from COVID-19. —The STAR/Roel Pareño

January 31, 2022 - 2:46pm

The Philippines will roll out its vaccination program for children aged 5 to 11 years old on February 4.

The pandemic task force says Pfizer vaccines exclusive for kids will arrive this week.
 

January 14, 2022 - 10:14am

The percentage of the population with full vaccination has reached almost 50% at 53 million, says National Task Force adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa.

In an interview with dzBB, Herbosa suggests that five million more have yet to receive their second vaccine dose.

"Around 58 million have received at least the first dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 and 4.7 million have been jabbed with a booster," he says in Filipino.

View the COVID-19 and Vaccination Dashboard for the latest figures on the pandemic in the Philippines.

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