The Department of Health (DOH) said there will be enough supply of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in the Philippines once the government starts the implementation of giving booster doses and additional shots to certain groups of the population.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said millions of vaccine doses are expected to be delivered in the country within this year.
“Actually, ang ating vaccine cluster has already announced itong mga parating na bakuna dito sa ating bansa. So starting this November, meron po tayong inaasahan na almost 20 to 25 million doses pa (Actually, our vaccine cluster has already announced these additional vaccines for our country. So starting this November, we expect about 20 to 25 million more doses),” said Vergeire in a television interview on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
“So with the existing stocks pati yung mga parating, enough naman po yung ating supplies (as well as the ones that are coming, we have enough supplies),” she added.
Based on the data of the National Task Force against of COVID-19, a total of 97,678,340 vaccine doses were already delivered in the Philippines.
The Philippines has already administered 56,202,893 vaccine doses as of Oct. 25, as shown in the DOH COVID-19 vaccination dashboard.
Even if the DOH already approved the administration of booster doses and third shots, Vergeire said that they are still in the stage of planning on how it will be done.
“Iyan po ang rekomendasyon ng ating WHO (World Health Organization)—for the immunocompromised, senior citizens, and healthcare workers. Although tinitingnan natin, syempre operationally—– kailangan natin tingnan kung paano natin maisasagawa with this short time period, hanggang December. Baka mag-spill over din tayo hanggang sa isang taon (That is the recommendation of the WHO — for the immunocompromised, senior citizens, and healthcare workers. Although we are looking, of course operationally —– we need to see how we can do this with this short time period, until December. It may spill over into next year),” she said.
Also, before this can be implemented, an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would still be needed.
“Before we can be able to implement this, kailangan ng amended emergency use authority nung ating mga bakuna dito sa ating bansa (we need an amended emergency use authority for our vaccines here in our country),” said Vergeire.
“Lahat ng bakuna natin ngayon ay may emergency use authority. Pero yung EUA po kasi nila, ngayon, currently, specific po yun na dalawang doses lang ang ibibigay, and para sa Janssen na vaccine, isang dose lang. Kaya kailangan po natin ma-amend (All our vaccines now have emergency use authority. But the EUA currently, it’s specific that only two doses will be given, and for the Janssen vaccine, only one dose. So we need to amend that),” she added.
On Monday, Oct. 25, Vergeire said that they are looking to administer COVID-19 booster shots and additional doses to health workers and other eligible groups by November or December.
Vergeire previously explained that a third dose and a booster shot are different. She explained that a third dose is for people who “cannot mount appropriate immunity” against COVID-19. A booster shot, meanwhile, is being given because of waning immunity “several months” after vaccination.