DOH expands 2nd COVID-19 booster shot to adults aged 50 and up

Bonz Magsambol

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DOH expands 2nd COVID-19 booster shot to adults aged 50 and up

BOOSTER SHOTS. Cebu residents receive vaccine booster jabs at a COVID-19 vaccination facility in Cebu City.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

The Department of Health also allows people with comorbidities, aged 18 to 49, to get their second booster shot

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has allowed adults aged 50 and above, and those with comorbidities, aged 18 to 49, to get their second COVID-19 booster shot.

In a statement on Tuesday, July 26, the DOH said that the move is based on the recommendations of the Health Technology Assessment Council to the agency. It added that only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be used for them, and will be given fourth months after their first booster or third dose of the vaccine.

“As vaccine immunity wanes over time, we are dedicated to helping our people remain protected against COVID-19. We are making it easier for as many of our people to avail of the primary series and boosters – including second boosters,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

The DOH said that eligible individuals can check the schedule of vaccine deployment with their local government units and private service providers.

“As part of the preparation for the administration of second booster doses to the above-mentioned populations, orientations for local government units and vaccination centers are already scheduled,” the DOH said.

Prior to this development, the second booster shot was only limited to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals with specific medical conditions.

What to bring?

The DOH said that eligible individuals need to bring their vaccination card and a valid ID.

“A medical certificate is not required, even for those with comorbidities. The medical screener or doctor at the vaccination site is authorized to assess and make the determination,” the agency added.

The DOH decided to administer a second booster shot to the age groups as the country deals with a new surge in cases driven by Omicron offshoots.

“The DOH, along with other government agencies and private sector partners, aims to increase vaccine coverage nationwide. We need every eligible Juan and Juana to turn this into a whole-of-society fight against the virus,” Vergeire said.

The government is targeting to administer booster shots to 50% of the eligible fully vaccinated individuals during the first 100 days of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., or to 23 million people.

As of July 21, some 71 million individuals have been fully vaccinated. Only 15 million have availed of the first booster, while some 1.1 million have availed of their second booster.

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.