DOH assures continuous inoculation of unvaccinated population amid booster rollout

Published November 17, 2021, 3:27 PM

by Analou de Vera


Amid the initial rollout of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine booster shots, the Department of Health (DOH) assured the public on Wednesday, Nov. 17, that the vaccination of those who have yet to receive their full doses of COVID-19 vaccine will still be prioritized.

“With the simultaneous conduct of primary and booster vaccination, vaccination sites have been instructed to ensure prioritization of primary vaccination whenever possible through dedicated days, lanes, and outreach strategies,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a townhall event.

DOH Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) Chairperson Myrna Cabotaje also aired the same pronouncement.

“Our primary consideration is still to finish our primary doses. So we urge the different areas not to redistribute existing vaccines from their primary series to the booster series,” said Cabotaje.

“They can use it in exchange, but be rest assured that they will be replenished. We don’t want to be hearing that they lack vaccines for the primary doses,” she added.

Cabotaje said that the Philippines has enough supply of vaccines for booster shots.

Booster doses for medical frontliners

The NVOC official said about 600,000 healthcare workers are eligible to receive booster shots for this month.

“Based on our data, we have about 600,000 of our healthcare workers that are due in November,” said Cabotaje.

“It starts today for those who are ready… We hope we can finish many of you by month’s end,” she added.

“We are targeting about 1.6 million materlisted. the rest will come next month,” she furthered.

Meanwhile, health officials said that they are still finalizing the guidelines for the administration of booster doses for senior citizens and select people with comorbidities.

“For Phase 1 of implementation, since emergency use authorization has been issued, we will commence on healthcare workers followed by senior citizens and people with comorbidities,” said Vergeire.

“Inaayos pa yung guidelines (The guidelines are still being crafted) for A2 (seniors) and selected A3 (people with comorbidities),” said Cabotaje.

Vergeire noted that healthcare workers were prioritized for booster shots because of “operational considerations.”

“Healthcare workers are organized as many are in health facilities. There are only a few, who are not affiliated with health institutions. Thus, we can facilitate this rollout faster,” she said.

“(Also), healthcare workers are the ones giving vaccines to others. They need to be more protected because they are at higher risks,” she added.