Why it is not yet time for boosters

Published November 2, 2021, 10:39 AM

by MB Lifestyle

‘Prioritizing vaccination of the unvaccinated over the marginal benefit of boosters will result in much fewer people in the hospitals’

The administration of boosters would be worth it only when the general population has been vaccinated against COVID-19), an infectious disease expert said.

‘If we divert vaccine doses for boosters, there will be more hospitalizations among the unvaccinated.’

In a Facebook post, infectious diseases expert and Manila Bulletin Lifestyle columnist Dr. Edsel Salvaña, who is also a member of the Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group, emphasized that primary COVID-19 vaccination continues to be effective for preventing severe disease and death beyond six months.

“Prioritizing vaccination of the unvaccinated over the marginal benefit of boosters will result in much fewer people in the hospitals. If we divert vaccine doses for boosters, there will be more hospitalizations among the unvaccinated,” he said.

Salvaña added the Filipino society would get more benefits from the government’s vaccination program by using the current stocks of COVID-19 doses to inoculate as many people as possible before giving additional jabs to the vaccinated.

Image from Dr. John Wong

“With the vaccine program now available for the general population and children 12 years and above, let’s get as many people vaccinated as we can. We can decide on giving boosters once the majority of Filipinos have been protected,” he said.

In a recent online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that the country’s situation amid the prevalence of the Delta variant among the cases has proven that COVID-19 vaccines work.

“Hindi po tayo na overwhelm nung dumating ang Delta variant, bagamat nahirapan at na-challenge po lahat (Our healthcare systems were not overwhelmed when the Delta variant came, although it was difficult and challenging for all), even NCR, even all the hospitals were challenged, but we were able to get through that, and one of the biggest factors for that is the vaccine,” she said.

Vergeire also emphasized that vaccines never promised 100 percent efficacy against COVID-19 as shown in clinical trials and clinical studies.

“’Yung kapag fully vaccinated ka na, you can still pass on the infection, hindi po natin ikakaila (We don’t deny that you can still pass on the infection even when you’re fully vaccinated). From the very start we have explained to everybody that these vaccines primarily have their effect against severe infections, against death,” she said. (PNA)

 
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