The Philippine government’s Vaccine Expert Panel recommended that a fourth dose or a second booster shot be given to the elderly and immunocompromised, a pandemic task force adviser said Friday.
Dr. Ted Herbosa said only 10.5 million of 63 million fully vaccinated individuals had received their third dose.
“As of now, the vaccine expert panel has a recommendation for a fourth dose or second booster dose for senior citizens and immunocompromised,” he said in a televised press briefing.
“It’s been submitted to the technical advisory group and all-experts group. We’re just awaiting if the IATF will approve it and implement it,” he said.
Herbosa said the fourth Bayanihan, Bakunahan program scheduled next week aims to inoculate some 2 million more senior citizens.
“We’re targeting the A2 or senior citizens who have yet to get vaccinated. We estimate there are 2 million more of them. Secondly, we’re also targeting another dose so we can strengthen their immunity,” he said.
“Many think that they don’t want to get a booster dose because we’ve deescalated to Alert Level 1. They still need a booster dose so their immunity against COVID-19 can be boosted and we don’t reach another wave of infections,” he said.
Some 62.82 percent of 9.4 million elderly and 92.51 percent of 14.5 million persons with comorbidities have been given complete doses as of Feb. 28, according to the Department of Health.
Those most at risk for breakthrough infections are the elderly and individuals with pre-existing illnesses, especially those with cardiovascular disease.
The most common comorbidities in patients who had COVID-19 and were intubated are hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Meanwhile, the Philippines logged on Friday 853 new cases, the lowest this year, bringing the total to 3,665,747.
The previous lowest count recorded was 866 on Wednesday, March 2.
Positivity rate was at 4.3 percent, which is within than the World Health Organization’s target of less than 5 percent.
The DOH also reported 232 fatalities bringing the death toll to 56,770.
Active cases stood at 50,230, of which 450 are asymptomatic; 45,300 are mild; 2,773 are moderate; 1,411 are severe; and 296 are critical.