In spirit of equity: DOST’s expert panel urges fully vaccinated Filipinos to shelve COVID-19 booster shot plans

Published June 19, 2021, 5:46 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Are you planning to have a booster shot against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after completing the two-dose regimen?

A health worker prepares to administer a coronavirus vaccine to an airport employee at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) vaccine expert panel (VEP) has a piece of advice for you.

VEP chair Dr. Nina Gloriani urged Saturday, June 19, fully vaccinated Filipinos to shelve their plans to receive booster shots in spirit of “equity” even as she affirmed that booster shots could increase one’s level of protection against COVID-19,

“Habang limited ang ating supply sana ay wag muna natin gawin yan (While our supply is limited, I hope we don’t do that),” she told the TeleRadyo in an interview on Saturday.

She said the duration of antibodies for those who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could range from six and nine months.

“Pero ‘pag boost ng boost, maya’t maya magpapaboost every month, wala rin mangyayaring iba doon kasi nasa-saturate ‘yung ibang mga immune cells ninyo at hindi na tataas pa ang antibodies ninyo. May saturation point ‘yan. Papanhik tapos may point yan na magplateau. Kahit inject ka ng inject hindi na po ‘yan tataas at sayang lang (But, when you always get boosters, from time to time you will get a booster every month, nothing else will happen there because your other immune cells are saturated and your antibodies will not increase. That has a saturation point. It will go up and then there’s a point to it will plateau. Even if you get injected, it won’t increase and it will be useless),” she explained.

Gloriani cited that the Philippines’ study on the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching five COVID-19 jabs is expected to start by next month.

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When asked if individuals fully vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine may get another vaccine brand as a booster, Gloriani said, “Ang mas tanong ay makakasama ba? Well hindi naman, kasi ang booster ay mag-iincrease ng iyong immune response pero in a pandemic kunwari sa atin, unless palabas nga at requirement na ganun, mayroon tayo na tinatawag na equity. Gusto natin yung mas marami ang magkakaron ng bakuna. Pag nabigyan ka na ng dalawa, ibigay mo ang pangtatlo at pang apat dun sa iba naman (The real question is will it be harmful? Well not really, because the booster will increase your immune response but in a pandemic let’s say, unless it has been issued and became a requirement , we have what we call equity. We want more people to have the vaccines. When you have been given twos, give the third and fourth doses to others).”

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Malacañang announced on Thursday, June 17, 2,012,154 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The list of fully vaccinated individuals include 1,021,531 million health workers, 513,711 seniors, 469,747 people with comorbidities, and 7,165 essential workers as of June 16.

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