MANILA, Aug 19 (Mabuhay) — Health experts have not yet recommended the administration of a third dose or “booster” shots for individuals fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday.
At an online town hall meeting, Vergeire said majority of the population have yet to receive their vaccine shots, due in part to the limited vaccine supply.
“Lagi po natin iisipin itong bakuna po, marami pa po sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi nakakatanggap (Let’s be reminded that many of us are not yet vaccinated),” Vergeire said. “Sa ngayon po, sumunod po tayo sa siyensya dahil ang science hindi pa po nakakapagbigay ng (Let’s base our actions on science because until now science has not provided) full evidence regarding these booster doses for Covid-19 vaccines.”
The prospect of booster shots emerged as the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and breakthrough infections raise questions about whether the vaccinated might need a third dose.
Even the World Health Organization does not recommend at this time booster shots but it is reviewing the emerging evidence on the need for and timing of an additional vaccine dose.
It said booster programs will further deprive lower-income countries of the life-saving shots as majority of the world’s population are still unvaccinated.
Local health experts assured the public that all coronavirus vaccines available in the country provide protection against variants, but people must also adhere to the health protocols.
“Hindi po kaya sugpuin ang transmission sa pamamagitan ng bakuna lamang, ang pagsunod po natin sa (Transmission can’t be stopped through vaccination only, our adherence to) minimum public health standards at PDITR strategy ay critical and important in arresting the pandemic,” Vergeire said.
As of Aug. 1, data from the Food and Drug Administration showed there are only 116 cases of breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated Filipinos, or only 0.0013 percent of 9.1 million fully vaccinated individuals.
The Philippines uses six vaccine brands in its vaccination program — Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Janssen and Moderna. (MNS)