‘Not enough’: DOH to acquire more bivalent Covid-19 vaccines

Health Secretary Ted Herbosa, on Thursday, June 8, admitted that the country's first batch of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines is insufficient, stressing the need to acquire more.

(Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The Department of Health (DOH) on June 3 confirmed the arrival of over 390,000 doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippines which were donated by the Lithuanian government.

While this development is significant in the country’s battle against the virus and its subvariants, newly appointed health chief Herbosa said the current number of bivalent jabs in the Philippines is far from enough.

“May programa tayo ngayon to acquire as many bivalent vaccines. May 390,000 na dumating na at I think starting today ay idini-distribute na — pinaka marami sa NCR (We now have a program to acquire as many bivalent vaccines. 390,000 have arrived and I think starting today these are being distributed — most in NCR),” Herbosa told reporters on Thursday.

“390,000 doses are not enough. We need to get more but of course it is difficult. There are technical difficulties acquiring these bivalent vaccines but we are trying to get them and I will push for getting more of these, especially for the vulnerable sector like healthcare workers because the old vaccines are now waning so they need to be given bivalent jabs. We will try to acquire more. I promise that,” Herbosa added in a mix of English and Filipino.

The country has yet to begin inoculating bivalent jabs for priority groups. Earlier, DOH said it will be administered as a third booster shot for individuals aged 18 years old and above belonging to A1 population or healthcare workers and A2 or senior citizens at least four to six months after their second booster jab.