DOH to study shortening gap between doses for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Published June 4, 2021, 2:28 PM

by Analou de Vera

In this file photo taken on February 12, 2021, a vial containing the Covid-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and a syringe are seen on a table in the pharmacy of the vaccination center at the Robert Bosch Hospital in Stuttgart, southern Germany. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Health (DOH) said it will look into the possibility of shortening the interval between the first and second doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the statement amid the United Kingdom’s decision to shorten the gap between the two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to eight weeks.

Vergeire said that the usual interval for AstraZeneca vaccine is between four to 12 weeks.

Related story: DOH: 1 million soon-to-expire AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines already administered

“If you are vaccinated on your second dose on that eighth week wala pong problema iyan. Kasama pa rin iyan sa range nung interval na ibinigay po ng manufacturer and ng WHO [World Health Organization] (there is no problem with that. That is still within the range of the interval given by the manufacturer and the WHO),” said Vergeire.

Vergeire said that local health experts will conduct a study if the country will also follow this development from the United Kingdom.

“Ngayon, doon sa nangyayari sa UK, shinorten nila para mas mabilis ang pagbabakuna or pag fully vaccinate ng mga tao (What’s happening in the UK is that they shorten it for faster vaccination),” she said.

“Pag-aaralan natin, kasi itong pinapatupad natin is base sa ebidensya na sinasabi that you get a higher efficacy when you give it at a longer period of interval. Tingnan natin in the coming weeks kung ano ang sasabihin ng ating mga eksperto (We’ll study that, because we are implementing it based on the evidence that you get a higher efficacy when you give it at a longer period of interval. Let’s see in the coming weeks what our experts have to say),” she added.

Looser restrictions for fully vaccinated people

Meanwhile, Vergeire said that the government is still studying whether they will implement looser restrictions for those who completed their two doses.

“Vaccine coverage ang pinag-uusapan sa threshold para tayo ay magkaroon ng relax restrictions among fully vaccinated. So kapag tiningnan natin, ang rekomendasyon ay meron 30 percent sa ating mga eksperto na population coverage ang tinatawag,” said Vergeire (Vaccine coverage is one of the factors when it comes to threshold so that we can relax restrictions among fully vaccinated. So when we look at it, there is a recommendation from our experts that the coverage must be 30 percent of our population),” she said.

“Pero ang isa nilang gusting ipunto din gusto nilang makita na at (But they also want to see that) at least 50 percent of senior citizens are also vaccinated,” she added.

Related story: DOH not yet keen on lifting face mask policy for fully vaccinated individuals

The Health official said that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) will soon come up with a decision.

“Ito yung mga tinitingnan, walang final ito ay rekomendasyon palang at pag uusapan. Of course, IATF pa rin madedesiyon nito (These are the ones we are looking at. There is no final decision yet, only recommendations. Of course, IATF will decide on it),” she said.