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FDA's Eric Domingo on administering booster shots in the PH: 'Di naman lahat kakailanganin ng 3rd dose'

By Gaile Gregorio Published Nov 03, 2021 3:45 pm

The Philippines is not yet giving out booster shots as the applications are still being studied, says FDA director general Eric Domingo. But thhe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also provided an update on the upcoming booster injection inoculation in the Philippines.

In a taped speech that aired on Wednesday, Nov. 3, Domingo said that applications for booster shots are currently being reviewed. The data has been submitted for assessment by vaccine specialists.

Within the following two weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) is anticipated to provide its "more finalized" recommendations.

Domingo assured the public that not everyone will be needing the third dose.

“Ang nakikita naming magiging trend, 'di naman lahat kakailanganin ng 3rd dose. Yun po talagang selected na mangangailangan: elderly, immunocompromised, health workers,” he stated. 

The Department of Health is now in the process of preparing the guidelines for the rollout of the booster shots.

Meanwhile, Domingo also said that the country has eight vaccine brands under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Six of these are two-dose primary series schedule, and two are for single-dose vaccination, namely Janssen and Sputnik Light. 

On the COVID-19 booster vaccines, Domingo stated that the US FDA has started administering booster shots last Oct. 20 at least 6 months after the completion of the primary doses to individuals:

  • 65 years of age and older
  • 18-64 years old at high risk of severe COVID-19
  • 18-64 years old with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to COVID-19

Individuals 18 years and older may receive a single booster dose of the brand Janssen at least two months after completing the single-dose initial regimen, according to Domingo.

Following completion of primary vaccination with a separate available COVID-19 vaccine, eligible patients are given each of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a heterologous or "mix and match" of booster doses.

The World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (WHO SAGE) issued interim recommendations, stating that additional vaccine doses may be required as part of an extended primary series for target populations where the immune response following the standard primary series is 'likely to be insufficient,' and that it is for the elderly and immunocompromised.

In the following two weeks, WHO will review the third dose of Sinovac/Coronovac for the elderly and immunocompromised.

As of Nov. 2, the FDA has received the application for product variation, including the vaccine brands Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sputnik for homologous vaccines or receiving the same brand of booster shot as your primary series of the vaccine.