January 29, 2023

Vaccinees still waiting for their second dose of the Sputnik V vaccine may have to extend their patience as no exact date has been announced as to when Russia will deliver the vaccine.
In the event Russia will not deliver within the time frame expected for the deployment of the vaccines in the localities, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Enrique Domingo said concerned authorities have discussed contingency measures, including suggestions to use a different brand for those who are yet to receive their second dose of the Sputnik V.
Domingo said so far, the panel of vaccine experts has not recommended mixing of different brands of vaccines, as well as giving booster shots.
Reacting to reports the vaccines are only able to protect an individual for at least six months, Domingo said these are not conclusive as there are no studies suggesting for the need to get booster shots.
“Ang panawagan namin ay huwag muna mag-booster shot. Wala pang anim na buwan mula noong mag-umpisa tayong magbakuna at inoobserbahan pa natin ‘yung mga naunang nabakunahan. Hindi pa natin alam kung nag-wane ang bisa ng mga bakuna,” Domingo said in the virtual press conference organized by the Department of Health-Cordillera.
Domingo said the documented cases of vaccinated people who got infected are considered breakthrough infection or those who did not get the full dose of their vaccines.
The World Health Organization also does not recommend administering booster shots at the moment.
In a statement posted Aug. 10, the WHO said booster doses should be evidence-driven. It said duration of vaccine-induced protection depends on many variables, such as the vaccine product, the primary vaccination schedule, the age and/or underlying medical conditions of the vaccinee, risk of exposure, and circulation of specific variants.
“The decision to recommend a booster dose is complex and requires, beyond clinical and epidemiological data, a consideration of national strategic and programmatic aspects, and importantly an assessment of the prioritization of globally limited vaccine supply,” the WHO said.
The WHO added giving booster shots could worsen inequity of supply of vaccines worldwide.
“In the context of ongoing global vaccine supply constraints, administration of booster doses will exacerbate inequities by driving up demand and consuming scarce supply while priority populations in some countries, or subnational settings, have not yet received a primary vaccination series. The focus for the time being remains on increasing global vaccination coverage with the primary series (either one or two doses for current vaccines,” the WHO statement reads.
Domingo said the vaccine panel has also discussed plans of inoculating people 17 years old and below but he said more studies are needed before they will give the green light.
“Sa ngayon concentrate muna tayo sa mga nasa A1, A2, and A3 categories,” Domingo said, as he assured that as more vaccines are deli-vered in the country, the Philippines will achieve population protection before the year ends. – Rimaliza A. Opiña