DOST: WHO’s call for moratorium on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots ‘commendable’

Published August 6, 2021, 12:00 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has welcomed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) call for a moratorium on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine booster shots to address the disparity in jab distribution between rich and poor countries.

(Photo by Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña described as “commendable” the call made by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus seeking an “urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries.”

“The intention of WHO is commendable,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message. “But I think it will still be up to governments to make the decision for their respective constituents.”

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who leads the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), also cited the WHO’s call to countries and firms having a grip on supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses to prioritize poor nations.

“This is a welcome development, as it will allow more persons around the world to be vaccinated,” she said.

DOST’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) head Dr. Nina Gloriani bared that it will likely come up with “some recommendations” this week on the use of COVID vaccine booster shots for those fully vaccinated individuals, particularly the healthcare workers and immunocompromised.

She had noted that should the government allow the use of COVID) vaccine booster jabs for those vaccinated with China’s Sinovac jabs, the initial list of priority recipients may include the elderly, those with comorbidity and the healthcare workers.