The Philippines rolled out Thursday the second COVID-19 booster shots to the elderly and health workers.
The Health Technology and Assessment Council (HTAC) earlier this May recommended another additional dose to medical workers and senior citizens.
Following HTAC’s recommendation, messenger RNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna will be given at least 4 months after the administration of the first booster dose, according to the Department of Health.
In a ceremonial rollout in Mandaluyong City, Mayor Benjamin Abalos Sr., three medical frontliners, and three senior citizens were given a Pfizer jab as their second booster.
The health workers received a homologous booster, or the same brand of vaccine as their first additional dose, while the elderly were given a heterologous shot from a different brand.
There are 1.09 million health workers and 2.14 million senior citizens eligible for second booster shots as of May 19, according to the DOH data.
“The second booster for our health workers and senior citizens will enhance protection given by the first booster and the primary series against all variants, including the recent omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said.
“Everyone eligible can get the second booster jab done at the LGU vaccination sites nearest you. They are safe, effective, and free of charge,” Vergeire said.
Government initially rolled out the second booster to immunocompromised persons following HTAC’s recommendation and has so far administered it to 30,912 members of the vulnerable sector as of May 18, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.
As of Monday, some 69 million or 76.76 percent of the eligible 90 million population in the country have been fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease, according to Malacañang. Of those with primary doses, 13.89 million have received their booster shots.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority urged frontline health workers and senior citizens to get their second booster shot of vaccine to strengthen their immunity against COVID-19.
The MMDA joins other agencies and local government units in declaring full support to the Department of Health’s “Sabay SaVaxx Kontra COVID” campaign, which kicked off in Mandaluyong City with the rollout of the second vaccine booster shots for healthcare workers and senior citizens.
“This second booster for our healthcare workers and senior citizens will provide added protection to the first and primary doses. It will fortify the defense of our health workers and seniors who belong to the vulnerable sectors,” said MMDA chairman Romando Artes.
To bolster the national government’s vaccination coverage, Artes said the MMDA mobile vaccination team will be deployed in partnership with various LGUs and the private sector to bring the vaccines closer to the public.
“With our continued collaboration with various sectors, we are hopeful that we will reach the endemic stage of this virus,” said Artes.
He added: “The virus is still around, but if we get inoculated, we will be able to protect not only ourselves, but also our community, from all the existing COVID-19 variants.”