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‘Health workers, seniors to get bivalent vax first’

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The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the bivalent vaccines against COVID-19 has been released and the agency is set to administer it to the first batch of recipients, specifically healthcare workers and senior citizens.

“The EUA is out for the donated bivalent vaccines which are Pfizer (products) coming from COVAX,” said DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire during a media forum on Tuesday.

The bivalent vaccines come from the COVAX facility is a worldwide initiative aimed at providing equitable access to COVID vaccines.

More than one mission doses of bivalent jabs are expected to arrive within three to four weeks.

Based on an agreement with the facility and a recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council, the vulnerable sector consisting of healthcare workers), senior citizens) and persons with comorbidities would be given priority to the donated vaccines.

The bivalent vaccines can be received by individuals belonging to the priority sectors at least four months after their most recent vaccination.

Vergeire disclosed that the operational guidelines have been finalized.

“All that is needed if for the executive committee members to sign the resolution for us to be able to issue out this department memorandum on the operational guidelines so our local governments can prepare already,” she said.

On the issue of safe disposal of wasted monovalent vaccines, Vergeire said the DOH has been in touch with third-party logistics in charge to do so whenever jabs are procured.

“Some of the vaccines in our warehouses are still quarantined so we’re not disposing the jabs yet. We’re waiting for the decision of) FDA [Food and Drug Administration] through the submission of our manufacturers if we can still extend the shelf lives of these vaccines,” she said.

Bivalent vaccines are modified jabs that target the omicron variant and the original form of the virus.

“They have committed that the shots will arrive in about 3-4 weeks. Hopefully, this will happen.,” Vergeire said.

Around 73.8 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Of this number, over 21.5 million have received first boosters while 3.9 million have gotten second boosters.


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