MANILA, Philippines – Due to waning vaccine efficacy, the Philippines will begin administering a fourth dose or second booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, April 25.
“Only 18 years old and up immunocompromised individuals can receive their fourth dose as early as three months after their their dose (first booster),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The rollout on Monday will begin with immunocompromised individuals aged 18 and above. Rappler has reached out to the Department of Health (DOH) for the complete list of medical conditions eligible for the second booster dose. We will update this story once we get new information.
At a press briefing earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the immunocompromised persons include patients who received an organ transplant, cancer patients, those who take immunosuppressants, HIV/AIDS patients, and those with primary immunodeficiency.
The following brands of COVID-19 vaccine will be used as second booster dose.
Last week, the DOH said that the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved the second booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and frontline health workers.
Immunocompromised individuals are given priority because Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) already completed its assessment for the need of second booster dose for the said sector, Vergeire said.
“Nauna po ang ebidensiya at mas kumpleto po ang ebidensiya na hawak ng ating HTAC para sa immunocompromised. Kasunod na po ang senior citizens at health workers,” she added.
(HTAC already has complete evidence for the need of second booster for the immunocompromised. Senior Citizens and health workers will follow.)
The Philippine will join a number of countries – including Australia, El Salvador, Germany, Israel, and the United Kingdom – that have started inoculating second booster dose for their population.
While it’s fine to keep in step with the latest vaccine developments, in the Philippines, the fourth dose comes as some 2.6 million elderly Filipinos have yet to get their first dose.
Most experts Rappler has spoken to agree that, in a hierarchy of goals, reaching the unvaccinated should remain a priority. – Rappler.com