November 18, 2021

Covid-19 booster shots are given to PH healthcare personnel.

On Wednesday, the Philippine government began administering booster vaccinations to healthcare workers (HCWs), with the goal of covering the country’s more than one million medical front-line workers by the end of the year.

The ceremonial inoculation was conducted by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez, Jr., and other health authorities at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), where 250 HCWs are due to receive their boosters within the day.

Imelda Teves of NKTI’s radiology department was overjoyed after receiving the shot, stating that she had been waiting for it since her last treatment in April 2021.

“I didn’t hesitate in the least, hindi ako natakot. Actually, nag-volunteer agad kami, sa amin masaya kami kasi at least mapapanatag kami na may booster na kami. Actually, we volunteered as soon as the announcement was made; we are pleased since we now have additional security), “She immediately informed the Philippine News Agency (PNA) after receiving the injection.

“Ito ayaw nakikita namin ang situation ng mga pasyente na ayaw magpa-vaccine, and ito ayaw nakikita namin ang mga pasyente na ayaw na ayaw na ayaw na ayaw na ayaw n So huwag mag-alala dahil napag-aralan naman ito (This is really useful because we ourselves witness patients who refuse to be vaccinated.) So don’t worry about the rest of us; this has been thoroughly researched) “she continued.

Teves received Sinovac’s CoronaVac for her first and second vaccine doses and Pfizer-BioNTech for her booster.

She had no negative effects during her original doses, and she is currently experiencing none from her booster shot.

“Masakit ko nga akala ko, but hindi naman. At first, I thought it would hurt, but it didn’t.) Katulad ng Sinovac noon, wala naman akong naramdaman na kahit ano (At first, I thought it would hurt, but it didn’t.) I’m not experiencing any adverse effects at the moment, just as I was when I first started taking Sinovac), “she stated

The administration of third doses for the A1 priority group (frontline health care professionals) was announced on Monday and began on November 17, with simultaneous booster immunization in other places.

Duque stated that this will happen in tandem with the increase in first- and second-dose vaccinations for children and the broader public.

“We will strive to cover the large majority of our health care employees this month of November, but we will (exert extra effort) so that everyone gets it as quickly as possible,” he stated in a press conference.

The public may rest comfortably that the country’s booster dose program is “safe and effective” now that the Food and Drug Administration has approved an emergency use permission (EUA), according to Duque.

According to the most recent DOH guidelines, HCWs who have completed their primary series can be vaccinated with the following brands six months after receiving the second dosage, regardless of the vaccinations they received in the previous two doses:

Primary vaccinationInterval for booster Homologous booster Heterologous booster
SinovacAt least 6 monthsSinovacAstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna
AstraZenecaAt least 6 monthsAstraZeneca*Pfizer, Moderna
PfizerAt least 6 monthsPfizerAstraZeneca, Moderna
ModernaAt least 6 monthsModernaAstraZeneca, Pfizer
Gamaleya SputnikAt least 6 monthsnot yet for implementation AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna
JanssenAt least 3 monthsnot yet for implementationAstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna

                                                                                                         *allowed but with precaution based on EUA

The FDA’s initial advice, according to Duque, was to be “mindful” when mixing and matching booster doses, especially if the primary jabs and the third shot are on different platforms.

Nonetheless, he stated that this is permissible because the goal remains the same: to boost the recipient’s antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Sinovac was the primary jab and Pfizer was the booster for several of the NKTI HCWs who had their boosters on Wednesday.

“Puwede naman iyon, wala namang problema (That’s OK, no problem) because, at the end of the day, the goal is the same, which is to raise the level of antibody protection prior to the booster dose,” Duque explained.

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