TEST BEFORE TRAVEL. A woman undergoes swab testing for Covid-19 at the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa (BP2) Program at the Multi-purpose court 1, BP2 Depot in Quezon City. Through the BP2 program, around 24 individuals are set to return to Camarines Sur. (MNS photo)

MANILA, July 23 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health is “open” to administering booster shots to immunocompromised individuals if there is complete evidence on its effectivity, Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.

The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is exploring an option to give additional doses to the immunocompromised. Both abroad and in the Philippines, only a 2-dose regimen for most brands or single-dose regimen for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen are recommended and allowed.

“Of course we will be always open as long as there is complete evidence, and actually that is part of the discussions of our experts,” Vergeire said.

Concerns grew locally after a spike of coronavirus infections in Indonesia, where the COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech was also widely used, and some are inquiring about the use of other brands as booster shots.

Vergeire said health authorities are not closing the door on booster shots, but they need to guarantee first its safety.

“We have constantly coordinated with our experts, we have scoured through all the evidences abroad regarding these booster doses. For now, even our experts are recommending that it is not yet the time,” she said.

She said the DOH is studying researches from other countries regarding the effectivity of Sinovac vaccines against the Delta variant, which currently counts for large number of infections globally and is seen to become the dominant strain over the coming months.

“We are seeing that the effectiveness is there especially for what was promised by the vaccines. The promise of the vaccines was for us to be protected against severe infections, hospitalizations, and deaths,” she said.

The DOH on Thursday reported 12 new cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, bringing the total to 47. Of this number, 8 cases are still active.

In total, there were 1.53 million COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, after Thursday’s addition of 5,828. Some 1.45 million of these cases have recovered, but 26,891 individuals died from the disease. (MNS)

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