Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday the vaccine expert panel is about to recommend a shorter interval between the administration of the booster shot doses and the second dose of the primary series of Covid-19 jabs.
“I already spoke to the head of the vaccine expert panel, Dr. Nina Gloriani. Yesterday, she told me they will officially recommend a three-month interval between the second dose and the booster dose,” Duque said in a media briefing.
He said the interval of six months could be shortened to three or four months which would apply to all vaccine brands approved to be given as booster doses.
In a separate online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said pronouncements on the shortened interval are still considered “theoretical” as pieces of evidence on more protection it could provide remain incomplete.
“Lahat po iyan ay nasa initial na pag-aaral pa lang (All these are initial studies) but of course the government can always decide on this,” she added.
Vergeire noted the country’s health and vaccine experts have previously recommended shortened interval between administration of booster shots and second dose of primary series of Covid-19 jabs only for immunocompromised individuals.
“Kailangan mabigyan na natin sila within 28 days or more ng booster doses kasi kailangan nila, ‘yan palang ang may siyensya, yan po ang may basehan (They need to be given booster doses within 28 days or more because they need it and that’s the only one backed by scientific evidence),” she said.
However, the Department of Health already asked the Food and Drug Administration to check all scientific evidence and if the vaccine expert panel can already recommend shortening the interval because of the threats posed by the variants of concern, Vergeire added.
To date, all adults could receive an additional Covid-19 jab six months after their second dose of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Sputnik V, or Sinovac vaccine.
As for those who received Janssen shots, they need to wait for three months only. (PNA)