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Second COVID-19 booster set for 1.8m in Philippines

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN – Filipino health authorities aim to roll out the second COVID-19 booster shot for an initial batch of 1.8 million healthcare workers, elderly and immunocompromised patients this week.

The Department of Health (DOH) will start giving the second booster shot as soon as the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), an independent advisory body, completes the review.

“The second booster shot rollout will start after the HTAC has given their recommendations,” Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said on Sunday.

“We are hoping the rollout will be on April 20 but it depends on the submission of the HTAC recommendations,” she added.

The DOH announced last week that the Food and Drug Administration has amended the emergency use authorisation given to COVID-19 vaccines to allow giving an additional booster shot to front-line healthcare workers, persons 60 years old and above, and
immunocompromised patients.

The second booster shot will be given at least four months after the first shot.

As concurrent head of the National Vaccination Operations Center, Cabotaje said 1,806,928 individuals were qualified to receive a second booster shot based on the four-month interval.
These consist of 1,559,833 individuals who received their booster shot last December and 247,095 individuals who received their booster shot last November.

Cabotaje said those who received their booster shots in January may receive their second booster shots by May.

As of April 11, more than 66.7 million individuals are fully vaccinated, including nine million adolescents and 1.3 million children, according to the DOH.