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Galvez: Gov't eyes booster shots for health workers by November, December

Galvez: Gov't eyes booster shots for health workers by November, December

MANILA, Philippines — The government is pushing to administer third vaccine doses or booster shots for health workers by November or December to give them additional protection against COVID-19 and its variants, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Friday.

This is considering the reality that vaccines have a waning efficacy against COVID-19 after six to eight months, he said.

For now, the government is not yet administering booster shots as vaccinated individuals only constitute about 30% of the population and Galvez said the threshold for giving third vaccine doses is that at least 50% of the population are already inoculated.

“We will have the boosters once we have the threshold of 50% vaccination. We’re pushing for this year kasi we don’t want to take the risk na magkaroon ng waning vaccination and later magkaroon ng casualties and fatalities once we have another wave of variants,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.

(We’re pushing for this year because we don’t want to take the risk of waning efficacies of vaccination and we would have casualties and fatalities when we have another surge of cases.)

“By November 15 or maybe December we will start sa health care workers kasi gusto namin i-boost talaga ‘yan because we want to protect our healthcare system,” Galvez added.

(We are aiming to start giving out third doses to healthcare workers by November 15 or December because we really want to boost their protection to protect our health care system.)

Galvez earlier said the government is ready to administer to health workers as it expects bulk deliveries of vaccines this month, which would enable it to allocate doses for the “re-vaccination” of health workers inoculated in March and April this year.

However, the government is yet to get a go-signal from health authorities.

He said the government has urged the panel of vaccine experts to “hurry up their decision” on the booster shots.

Calls for booster shots started when the COVID-19 Delta variant started to spread all over the country and there were reports that antibodies developed by the “wane” after about six months.

The Philippines is so far not yet giving booster shots but the country’s vaccine experts panel has recommended the administration of booster shots to health workers to give them additional protection, especially with the presence of more contagious variants such as Delta.

In the early stages of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, health workers mostly received the China-made Sinovac vaccines since it was the brand available at the time.

The World Health Organization has called for a until the end of 2021 as millions of individuals worldwide have yet to receive a single dose.

/MUF

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