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.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 7, 2023 - 2:21pm

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

August 7, 2023 - 2:21pm

The city government of Valenzuela City announces that it is temporarily suspending the use of Pfizer bivalent COVID-19 vaccines as they wait for more vaccine supplies.

July 25, 2023 - 12:40pm

Pasig City government announces the schedule of COVID-19 vaccination in the city from July 15 until July 28.

It advises residents that first, second dose and first and 2nd booster shots are available on a first come, first serve basis in its designated vaccination sites. 

Among the available vaccine brands is Sinovac for 6 years old and above. It adds that there are no Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines yet for residents age 12 and above.

June 21, 2023 - 8:56am

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to lead the rollout of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccination at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. — The STAR/Helen Flores

June 20, 2023 - 12:35pm

The Department of Health reminds public that they can still avail of the COVID-19 booster and bivalent booster. It reposted an infographic that determines when it is best to get the first two boosters and the bivalent booster.

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

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