DOH begins planning for Covid-19 booster rollout

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MANILA – A health official said on Monday that the Department of Health is awaiting the final recommendation of an advisory committee before administering Covid-19 booster shots to the vulnerable group.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stated in an online media forum that the department was in the planning stages, discussing the release of a third dose to a select set of people such as healthcare personnel, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities.

“We’re just waiting for the complete SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization) recommendation which will be out by November,” Vergeire said, referring to the principal advisory group to the World Health Organization for vaccines and immunization.

Some reports circulated over the weekend claiming that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III approved the DOH’s Health Technology Assessment Unit’s (HTAU) recommendation for booster shots and additional vaccines on October 13.

“Ito po ay nakuha doon sa HTAU website at pino-post naman po talaga ‘yan for transparency (It came from the HTAU website which is posted for transparency),” Vergeire said. “Lahat naman ng plano ay underway na tulad naman ng sabi namin sa inyo (All plans are underway and like what we told you) we will have this third doses for the immunocompromised, senior citizens and our boosters for our healthcare workers.”

HTAU recommends that boosters be provided to healthcare workers and senior citizens in the fourth quarter of this year if they were vaccinated at least six months after the primary series.

It further indicated that booster shots will be implemented in 2022, using the same prioritization strategy among eligible groups, but only after the A1 to A5 priority groups had reached 50% immunization.

“Pero kailangan po aantayin pa rin nating lahat ang emergency use authority [EUA] na manggagaling sa (But we need to wait for the emergency use authority from the) Food and Drug Administration. While waiting for the EUA we’re already planning and discussing how we can go about with the implementation,” Vergeire said.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.