Omicron-adapted vaccines may minimize impact of Covid in PH – expert

Published August 15, 2022, 2:35 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

Vaccines that specifically target the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may generate more immunity and minimize the severity of the infectious disease in the Philippines, a vaccine expert said on Monday, Aug. 15.


The Department of Health (DOH) previously expressed its plan to procure Omicron-adapted vaccines from other countries once available. Backing this decision, Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) Chairperson Dr. Nina Gloriani said that these variant-adapted vaccines will be beneficial to the Philippines, considering that the dominant variants in the country are BA.4 and BA.5.

“Sa ngayon, ang umiikot na variant sa atin ay BA.4 and BA.5. Kung ibibigay natin itong bagong vaccine in a bivalent form ay mas makakatulong ito na mas mag generate ng immunity against the specific variant na [nasa bansa]. Ito ang basehan nila kaya gusto nilang magbigay ng variant-specific vaccine (Right now, the dominant variants we have are BA.4 and BA.5. If we give this new vaccine in a bivalent form, it will help generate more immunity against the specific variant in the country. This is their basis that is why they want to provide a variant-specific vaccine),” said Gloriani in a “Laging Handa” public briefing.

An Omicron-adapted vaccine, according to Gloriani, has two forms: monovalent and bivalent. Monovalent vaccines are the variant-adapted ones, which means that it specifically targets Omicron and its sub variants. Bivalent, on the other hand, targets both the original strain of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant.

Asked when the Philippines could procure this vaccine, the expert said that it may take a few months as the vaccines need to undergo authorization before it may be declared safe for jabs.

“Sa Amerika ang sinasabi nila sa press releases nila ay by October. Pero sometimes, it takes a little longer. Kung iisipin natin sa Pilipinas, they will have to apply for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) again for this vaccine, so it may take another few months bago magiging available sa atin, but it is good to plan ahead (In America, what they say in their press releases is by October. But sometimes, it takes a little longer. If we think about the Philippines, they will have to apply for EUA again for this vaccine, so it may take another few months before it will be available to us, but it is good to plan ahead),” she added.