DOH OKs 2nd booster shot for seniors and HCWs

Senior citizens and frontline health-care workers (HCWs) may now avail of a second booster shot to strengthen immunity against Covid-19 infection, including the latest Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1. the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Wednesday.

The DOH said that they could particularly receive mRNA vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer to be given at least four months after the administration of the first booster dose.

“This is the moment we have all been waiting for. After careful study and consideration of the best available evidence, we shall now roll out effective immediately the second booster for our frontline health workers and senior citizens. This is part of how we fight back against the virus,” said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, the National Covid-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) chairperson.

Following the earlier grant of an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a positive recommendation by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC), DOH through the NVOC, released DM No. 2022-0206 or the Interim Operational Guidelines on the Administration of second Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Doses to Senior Citizens and Frontline Health-care Workers ages 18 years old and above.

The DOH guidelines provide for the administration of second booster doses for individuals 18 years old and above belonging to Priority Group A1: Workers in Essential Health Services, and all 60 years old and above (Priority Group A2: Senior Citizens).

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the second booster shot for HCWs and senior citizens will enhance protection given by the first booster and the primary series against all variants, including the recent Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1.

“Against whatever variant there is out there, the second booster supports the 4-Door strategy. It fortifies the defense of health workers and highly vulnerable seniors. Everyone eligible can get the second booster jab done at the LGU [local government unit] vaccination sites nearest you. They are safe, effective, and free of charge,” said Vergeire.

The administration of second booster doses to eligible individuals shall be implemented simultaneously nationwide, depending on the readiness of the Regional and Local Vaccination Operation Centers (RVOC/LVOCs), implementing units, and vaccination sites. The only documents needed are the vaccination card showing the date of the first booster dose, and any valid government issued ID.

“To further advance our march to the New Normal, we call on every eligible Juan and Juana to get their booster doses and those who have not yet received their primary doses. These vaccines will serve as our protection from existing variants and variants in the future. Together, we can get the job done by getting the jab done!” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

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