DOH says over 40 million Filipinos yet to receive Covid-19 booster shots

Published May 20, 2022, 2:41 PM

by Analou de Vera

A medical worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, the United States, June 18, 2021. (Xinhua/ FILE/ MANILA BULLETIN)

More than 40 million individuals who are already eligible for Covid-19 booster shots have yet to receive additional doses, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“There are 40.6 million left to be boosted,” the DOH said in a statement.

The state health agency said only 25 percent or 13.7 million of the 54.4 million Filipinos “due for booster shots” have received their additional doses.

Eligible Filipinos were reminded anew to complete their Covid-19 vaccination amid the threat of Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1.

“Get vaccinated and boosted for the added protection it provides against the Covid-19 virus. New Covid-19 virus variants may emerge and may cause a spike in cases if immunity is not secured through vaccination and boosters,” the DOH said.

Adult Filipinos or 18 years old and above are eligible for Covid-19 booster shots.

Immunocompromised individuals, senior citizens, and frontline health workers may now also receive their second booster doses.

Moderna’s bivalent booster

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has welcomed the development of a “bivalent booster vaccine” which is said to be effective against some variants of Covid-19 virus. This bivalent booster vaccine is being developed by American biotechnology company Moderna.

“Welcome po itong development na ito laban sa Covid-19—isang bakuna na ang sabi po ay epektibo laban sa Beta, Delta, at Omicron (We welcome this development against Covid-19 — a vaccine that is said to be effective against Beta, Delta, and Omicron),” said FDA Officer-in-Charge Oscar Gutierrez on Friday, May 20.

Gutierrez said they will study this vaccine’s data once Moderna applies for an emergency use authorization (EUA).

“Hihintayin po ng FDA ang EUA application at pag aaralan po natin yung clinical trial at iba pang datos po para ma evaluate din natin ito para sa safety, efficacy, and quality ng bakuna (The FDA will wait for the EUA application and we will study the clinical trial and other data so that we can also evaluate the safety, efficacy, and quality of the said vaccine),” he said.