DOH OKs COVID-19 booster shots for health workers, senior citizens

Published October 25, 2021, 12:19 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has approved the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to inoculate COVID-19 booster shots and additional vaccine dose.


In the HTAC’s interim recommendation issued on Oct. 13, the council recommended the administration of booster shots to healthcare workers and senior citizens at least six months after they have completed the primary COVID-19 vaccine series.

Booster shots may also be given to eligible priority sectors including those from A3 (people with comorbidities), A4 (economic frontliners), and A5 (poor population) by 2022, if acceptable vaccination vaccination coverage, or 50 percent, have completed the initial series.

“The rationale for the set threshold prior to implementation of booster includes ensuring maximum coverage for the primary series as the premature rollout of booster vaccination without attaining acceptable coverage would exacerbate existing inequities,” HTAC said.

Those who have been injected with AstraZeneca, CoronaVac, and Moderna vaccines were also advised to use Pfizer jabs as their booster shots.

AztraZeneca, on the other hand, can be used for those individuals injected with CoronoVac or also known as Sinovac, the council said.

Those who were administered with Pfizer and Janssen vaccines should receive the same brand for their booster, it added.

Meanwhile, those immunocompromised individuals are recommended to get additional shots or a third dose of the same brand at least 28 days after the completion of their initial vaccination.

Among those are persons receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, those receiving an organ transplant, those with advanced or untreated human immunodeficiency virus or HIV infection, those with rare disease, and dialysis patients.

The HTAC also assured that it “considered the best available evidence” and the following criteria: effectiveness against COVID-19 variants of concern, particularly against the Delta variant; delivery and logistics, including the capacity to supply in 2021 and 2022; costing or cost per dose and threshold cost per individual; and flexibility to be used in homologous and heterologous booster vaccine strategy.