Bivalent vaccines to provide added protection vs Covid-19–DOH

Coronavirus vaccines have been prepared for distribution at a vaccination site in Manila on May 18, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The Department of Health (DOH) said that bivalent vaccines can offer additional protection against Covid-19.

Some countries are starting to administer a third booster shot using the bivalent vaccines, said DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Base sa ebidensya at ginagawa ng ibang bansa (Based on the evidence and what other countries are doing), they are giving third boosters already and they are giving the bivalent vaccines," she said in a press briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

This is one of the reasons why the DOH is pushing to purchase this type of Covid-19 vaccine.

"May initial studies ngayon na kailangan makapagbigay ng bivalent according doon sa populasyon na sasabihin sa atin ng ating mga eksperto (There are initial studies now that there is a need to provide bivalent to specific populations that is recommended by our experts)," she said.

"These can provide additional protection, especially among the vulnerable population," she added.

Last September, Vergeire said that they were negotiating with two vaccine makers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, for the possible procurement of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines.

As previously explained, the bivalent Covid-19 vaccines specifically target the Omicron coronavirus variant as well as it subvariants.

The DOH is expected to purchase this new generation of Covid-19 vaccines early next year, said Vergeire during the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberation last September.