To fight old, Omicron strains by 2023 – DOH
THE Department of Health (DOH) is considering buying second-generation COVID-19 vaccines targeting the old and Omicron variants of the coronavirus by the first quarter of 2023.
DOH Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Vergeire yesterday made the announcement during the DOH’s presentation of its proposed P301-billion budget for 2023 before the House Committee on Appropriations.
“We are already in the process of discussion with manufacturers of new generation COVID-19 vaccines targeting Omicron and the original strain of COVID-19. One manufacturer is finishing registration for approval in the United States, and we are preparing the term sheet,” Vergeire said.
“For another manufacturer, we are working on a non-disclosure agreement. If we are able to proceed with these transactions, we will be able to procure the next generation of COVID-19 vaccine by the first quarter of next year,” she added.
The OIC then stressed the importance of getting the second generation COVID-19 vaccines, saying the immunity provided by the primary doses of COVID-19 vaccine is already waning.
“There is evidence that the immunity provided by the first two [or single] doses were affected and that immunity is already waning. The assumption of our experts is that by the end of the year, this [waning immunity] will be progressive among those who do not have [the] first booster, and this will affect the immunity of our population and increase our admissions in hospitals,” she said.