MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, March 22, that it was waiting for the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the amendment of the emergency use authorization (EUA) of COVID-19 vaccines to include a fourth dose for the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.
At a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the administration of the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccines had already been approved by the country’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) for the said vulnerable groups.
“Hinihintay na lang po natin. Nag submit na po ang DOH ng application sa FDA para sa amendment ng EUA para sa 4th dose (We’re just waiting for the approval. The DOH already submitted application to the FDA for the amendment of EUA to include fourth dose.) We will wait for the decision of FDA on this, and then we will discuss its possible implementation,” Vergeire said.
Currently, EUA of the COVID-19 vaccines in the country is only for the administration of primary doses and booster doses for the general population, and third shots for the elderly and immunocompromised individuals who failed to gain sufficient immunity despite their primary vaccination.
An EUA clears the way for vaccines and medicines to be used by the public even while these are still in the development phase. This, however, is not equivalent to a certificate of product registration or authorization to market the product.
If the DOH gets FDA approval, the Philippines will join a number of countries – including the United States and Israel – that started administering a 4th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to their population.
As of Monday, March 21, over 65 million individuals in the country have been fully vaccinated against the virus. – Rappler.com