MANILA – Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Tuesday said the government is planning to begin administering a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine for the healthcare workers and the country's vulnerable sector by November or early December.
“Ito po pineprepare na namin ni (Health Secretary Francisco) Duque, dahil nagbigay na po ng inclination ang WHO (World Health Organization), na ‘yung ating vaccination for third dosing, considering na maglalapse na po ‘yung immunity (Duque and I are already preparing [revaccination] since the WHO has already given its inclination for the vaccination for third dosing, considering that the immunity will lapse,” Galvez reported to President Rodrigo Duterte during the taped Talk to the People.
“Maybe we can start by November or early December,” he added.
The Department of Health (DOH) is awaiting the WHO’s official recommendation to give additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to immunocompromised persons, senior citizens, and healthcare workers.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the WHO is expected to release its final recommendation by November.
Vergeire clarified that booster shots and additional doses are different and the WHO has yet to recommend a third shot for the general population.
According to experts, a booster shot is an additional dose after the protection of the original shot(s) has decreased over time, while a third shot is for those with certain health conditions to help further protect them from severe Covid-19 case or death.
Following a four-day meeting, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization on Oct. 11 said those with weakened immunity should receive an additional shot.
SAGE said they are “less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid-19 disease”. (PNA)