COVID-19 vaccines

DOH: Private companies can’t use extra COVID-19 vaccines as booster shots

Bonz Magsambol
DOH: Private companies can’t use extra COVID-19 vaccines as booster shots

File photo of a health worker preparing to administer a COVID-19 vaccine

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

'Kung kayo po ay may sobrang bakuna sa inyong kompanya at kung ito ay magiging wastage na o mag e-expire you can undertake this loaning agreement from the national government,' says DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, November 19, that private companies cannot give their extra COVID-19 vaccines to employees because specifications in the approved emergency use authorization (EUA) for these shots were limited to health workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals.

“To the companies that procured additional doses, hindi ho kayo pinpayagan na ibigay sa employees as booster doses unless they are part of the senior citizens and immunocompromised na nakalagay sa EUA. Other than that, hindi pa ho natin puwedeng gawin ‘yan,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.

(To the companies that procured additional doses, you are not allowed to give these to employees as booster doses unless they are part of the senior citizens and immunocompromised groups as stated in the EUA. Other than that, you cannot use those.)

The health spokesperson explained that EUA approved by the Food and Drug Administration was based on science and evidence.

On Wednesday, November 17, the Philippines started administering booster doses to the priority group A1 or health workers. The DOH said that they may choose the COVID-19 vaccine brand as their booster shot, depending on the availability in the vaccination sites.

Health workers are the first group to be cleared for booster doses because they were the first group to become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines when the Philippines started its immunization campaign in March 2021 or seven months ago. 

The Health Technology Assessment Council or HTAC recommended that two groups be made eligible to receive a booster before the end of 2021: health workers and senior citizens vaccinated at least six months ago.

The remaining priority groups A3-A5 may be able to access boosters later in 2022.

Give extra doses to gov’t

Vergeire said that the private companies can give extra doses to the government to prevent vaccine wastage through loaning agreement in which the national government will get the stocks and replenish later on once they can already use them.

“Kung kayo po ay may sobrang bakuna sa inyong kompanya at kung to ay magiging wastage na o mag e-expire you can undertake this loaning agreement from the national government,” she added.

(If you have extra doses of vaccines and it will expire or become part of wastage, you can undertake this loaning agreement from the national government.)

The DOH said on Monday, November 15, that it was recommending using vaccines made by either Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinovac, regardless of the brand used for the primary series or the first two doses received.

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As of November 14, around 34.61% of the country’s population have received the first of two doses of the vaccine. Meanwhile, those who have taken both jabs as well as single-dose vaccines represent around 28.65% of the population. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.