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DOH looking into fund allocation for COVID-19 booster shots in 2022 budget

By Brooke Villanueva Published Aug 26, 2021 12:10 pm

The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing a budget allocation for COVID-19 booster shots should vaccine experts give a green light to their use by 2022.

According to DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, vaccine researchers are currently looking into whether or not booster shots are necessary for people who have been jabbed against the virus.

“Pinagaaralan pa ‘yun kung kailangan ng booster although we are considering it in the 2022 budget. Wala pa kasing firm recommendation ang ating all-experts group,” she said in an online webinar.

“Alam naman natin na they are waiting for one year para magkaroon ng effective boosters. As of now, hindi pa rin nirecommend ang ating booster dose. But for 2022, we may consider booster,” she continued. 

The World Health Organization has recommended prioritizing the present allocation of vaccines to inoculating as much of the target population as possible, due to the still low vaccination rate in a number of countries, before setting aside booster shots.

The DOH, however, said booster shots in the future may be considered for a “specific population,” including healthcare workers who have high risk of infection as well as immunocompromised individuals like cancer and HIV/AIDS patients, among others. 

“Ano ba ang definition ng ating booster? Will it be a third dose of the same vaccine or we boost everybody with another vaccine? These are currently being studied and tamang tama, in the next month or two, the all-experts group will now be able to give us a more final recommendation based on pag-aaral nila sa mga nangyayari sa buong mundo,” she explained. 

“We are really studying the events. We do not know in the future kung parang magiging trangkaso ‘yan. The experts are also studying, later on, baka kailangan lang ng one dose every year without having a primary dose,” added Cabotaje.

Article thumbnails by Walter Bollozos via Philippine STAR