The Philippines plans to purchase COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from American pharmaceutical company Moderna, the country’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr said Wednesday, April 21.
“Our plan is we might just to buy booster shots instead of 5 million vaccine doses,” Galvez told lawmakers, explaining that the booster shots would be in addition to the 20 million vaccine shots already reserved.
The House trade and health committees are probing the government’s vaccination program, which is behind its timetable of vaccinating 70 million Filipinos by the end of 2021 to achieve herd immunity.
How booster shots work
A booster shot is an extra administered dose to provide additional immunity against COVID-19.
Studies on how this method might be used were still ongoing, along with whether it could be mixed with different vaccine brands.
Booster shots are also expected to provide protection against new variants of the disease and longer immunity versus the COVID-19 virus.
The Philippines and Moderna
The Philippine government has closed a deal to purchase at least 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines, 7 million of which was funded by the private sector, and 13 million to be used for the country’s public inoculation program. (READ: SCHEDULE: Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine deliveries)
Galvez said that in the tentative schedule of the government initial doses of Moderna were supposed to arrived here by May. However, recent developments in the US may push back that schedule.
Moderna vaccines were being held in the US to fill in supply gaps after Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 shot encountered manufacturing issues.
In a separate forum, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said delivery of Moderna vaccines to the Philippines was expected to start by June 15. – with a report from Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler