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The Department of Health is awaiting the FDA’s decision on the fourth dose for seniors.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has applied for an amended emergency use authorization (EUA) to administer the fourth dose of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine to the elderly and immunocompromised.

In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received an application for the fourth dose or second booster shots based on the Vaccine Experts Panel’s recommendation (VEP).

“We will await the FDA’s decision on this and then discuss possible implementation,” she explained.

Previously, VEP member Dr. Rontgene Solante stated that a fourth dose or second booster may be required only for the elderly and immunocompromised, but not for the general population.

Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DOH-Technical Advisory Group, stated in the same forum that the evidence supporting the need for a fourth dose is preliminary.

“Even in the United States, what is approved is really for immunocompromised people, and this is a moving target, and it’s difficult to generalize, particularly to the general public, because there are so many other variables,” he explained.

Several factors contribute to this, including the number of circulating variants, the emergence of a new variant, and the development of new or reformulated vaccines.

“Will this have an effect on how it is administered?” If we had administered a fourth dose of the previous vaccine? Thus, at the moment, all of these are open scientific questions,” he added.

Over 65 million Filipinos have now been fully vaccinated, 70.4 million have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and 11.6 million have received booster shots.

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