June 3, 2023

On Aug. 18, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention together with other U.S. public health and medical authorities issued a statement recommending that a booster shot of Covid-19 vaccine will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.
Here is a summary of the statement:
Protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination, so that additional or booster doses are needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.
Booster shots will be given starting eight months after an individual’s second dose.
Booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. More data on the vaccine is being awaited for the timely plan for J&J booster shots.
Nearly all the cases of severe disease, hospitalization, and death continue to occur among those not yet vaccinated.
Guided by this development, the results of studies done in other countries and in our country and by guidelines of the World Health Organization, Filipino medical experts and the Department of Health will formulate vaccination policies on booster doses.

Vaccination is still the best way to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe disease but emergency use authorization was issued by the U.S. Foods and Drugs Authority for the use of the monoclonal antibody Casirivimab-Imdevimab as post-exposure prophylaxis by those who meet these criteria: Close contact with a Covid-19 positive case or with high risk of exposure in an institutional setting, risk factors for severe Covid-19, and not fully vaccinated or expected to have poor response to vaccination.

Fully vaccinated individuals can still get infected with SARS-CoV-2 (breakthrough infection). Studies have shown the initial viral load or the level of virus in the blood among persons with breakthrough Delta variant infection is similar to those among the unvaccinated, so that the potential to transmit infection could also be similar.

Because of the uncertainty about the transmission risk of the Delta variant, these are the updated recommendations on masking:

  1. Fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks in indoor public settings in places where transmission is high;
  2. Fully vaccinated individuals who are at risk for severe Covid-19 infection should wear masks in indoor public settings even if transmission in the area is low; and
  3. Fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks in indoor settings if they have household members who are at high risk for severe Covid-19 even if the rate of transmission in the area is low.

Vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years old and older including:

  1. Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future;
  2. Patients with chronic kidney disease, on dialysis or not on dialysis;
  3. Patients on immunosuppressants;
  4. Patients who are organ transplant recipients.

Medical queries and suggestions may be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected].