People inoculated with the Sputnik V vaccine may wait up to six months before getting their second dose, the Department of Health said.
This is longer than the recommended interval period under the vaccine’s emergency use authorization of 21 days to 42 days after the first dose as well as the extended 90-day interval period the Gamaleya Research Institute sought.
“First, we want to reassure those who have already received the first dose of Sputnik that we can wait six months after the first dose,” DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea De Guzman said in a press briefing.
De Guzman said the first dose of the vaccine already has a high efficacy rate.
“Second, the first dozen of Sputnik can actually confer a high efficacy rate. I think they are reporting it at an 80 percent efficacy rate,” she said.
“And third, the vaccine czar is actually working for our second dose of Sputnik,” she added.
In August, the country received 15,000 doses of the vaccine intended to be used as second dose.
Meanwhile, the government is considering raising its herd immunity goal from the original 70 percent to 90 percent of the country’s 110-million population due to COVID-19’s Delta variant.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. made the declaration based on assessment made by local experts to provide enough protection for Filipinos against the more contagious and deadly variant.
“Because of the Delta variant, the herd immunity, we have to raise our target to maybe 80 to 90 percent,” said Galvez.
From the government’s initial target of end of 2021, Galvez said herd immunity might be achieved by early next year.
Based on latest government data, at least 15 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
In Metro Manila, Galvez said that 52.3 percent of the target population or around five million residents had been fully vaccinated while 81.72 percent or about eight million residents had received at least one dose.
Galvez said the country was expecting some 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this month, including 12 million doses of Sinovac, five million doses of Pfizer, two million doses of Moderna, three million doses from Covax facility and one million doses each of AstraZeneca and Sputnik V and 1 million doses from donations.
Upon arrival, these vaccines will be immediately delivered to a facility in Marikina City owned and operated by Pharmaserv Express Inc., the Department of Health’s third-party storage and logistics partner in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Pharmaserv will also facilitate the packaging and distribution of vaccines to various local government units.