THE Department of Health (DOH) yesterday clarified that the recommendation submitted by the Health Technology Assessment Council on booster doses signed by Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III as interim recommendations to guide sectoral planning.
The DOH said it will be updated pending the assessment from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration on the amendment of Emergency Use Authorization, and the release of the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (WHO SAGE) recommendation expected this November.
The department also added that the formal recommendation on boosters will have to be adapted into a policy with operational plans by the Department.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire also clarified that planning is underway for booster doses.
“Ito po ay nakuha doon sa HTAC website at pino-post naman po talaga ‘yan for transparency. Lahat naman ng plano ay underway na tulad naman ng sabi namin sa inyo we will have these third doses for the immunocompromised, senior citizens and our boosters for our healthcare workers,” she said.
While waiting for the guidelines on boosters, DOH reiterated that reaching eligible unvaccinated individuals 12 years old and above should be prioritized.
“The primary series of vaccines far outweigh the incremental benefit of boosters. We have to prioritize giving the primary series of these COVID-19 vaccines to the unvaccinated so they, too, can receive the additional protection that vaccines provide against hospitalizations and deaths,” the DOH official said.
On the mixing and matching of vaccine brands for boosters, the DOH said that it will depend on FDA’s final assessment of the evidence submitted by the DOH All Experts Group.