December 4, 2022

The country’s vaccine experts panel will officially recommend the administration of booster dose three months after receiving the second dose amid the threat of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“I already spoke to Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the vaccine experts panel. She told me that they will officially recommend a three-month interval between the booster and the second dose,” Duque said in a media interview during a vaccination event in Subic, Zambales.

Duque said this would be applied to all Covid-19 vaccine brands that were approved as boosters.

“What used to be six months, pwedeng (it can be) three to four months interval between the second and booster dose,” he added, hoping the new vaccine interval will be implemented within the week.

Duque also noted massive vaccination efforts of primary and booster doses must be accompanied with strict adherence to public health and safety protocols.

“And also, I’d like to underscore the importance that whether the surge would be Alpha, Beta, Delta – now we’re looking at Omicron, still the same – minimum public health standards and vaccination,” he said.

Current guidelines require adults to get boosters six months after their second dose of Moderna, Sinovac, Pfizer, Sputnik V, or AstraZeneca vaccine, except for the single-dose Janssen vaccine that needs just three months.

On the other hand, Duque said there is a continuous data generation on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against the Omicron variant.

“We’re getting information from the ground. What has been the clinical outcome with respect to the effect of vaccines on the Omicron variant,” he added, noting that more information about the newly detected variant is still needed.

But based on the available data being analyzed, Duque said they see the vaccines are still effective against severe symptoms, hospitalization, and deaths.

“I think Pfizer came out with the study. But it’s saying, that a third dose or a booster dose will really help bring back an adequate level of protection,” he said.  PNA