A senior citizen receives a COVID-19 jab at Pinyahan Elementary School in Quezon city during the continuation of inoculation of Sinovac vaccine on April 14, 2021. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said more evidence is needed to determine if a third COVID-19 vaccine dose is necessary to protect people against COVID-19.
The agency said this Friday following the statement of the head of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer that people will “likely” need a third dose of his company’s COVID-19 jab within six to 12 months of vaccination.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department needs more evidence and recommendations about this from health authorities abroad.
“We need sufficient evidence to say if additional doses are required, if booster doses are required for any type of vaccine. We need to gather evidence, we need recommendation from the World Health Organization and maybe reputable institutions abroad,” Vergeire said in a briefing.
“Until we have this complete information and evidence, we are going to do the status quo. We will keep on vaccinating,” she added.
Out of all the vaccines currently being rolled out, only the jab developed by Johnson & Johnson requires single dose.
In an interview with CNBC, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla also said that annual vaccinations against COVID-19 may well be required but stressed “all of that needs to be confirmed.”
Researchers currently do not know how long shots provide protection against the disease.
The Philippines has so far administered over 1.2 million doses as of Tuesday. Only 162,065 people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-18 after receiving their second doses.
The figure is just a small fraction of the government’s target to vaccinate 70 million people this year.
The country’s COVID-19 caseload surpassed 900,000 Thursday, of which 20.3% were active cases. The severe respiratory disease claimed the lives of 15,594 people in the Philippines.
— Gaea Katreena Cabico with reports from Agence France-Presse
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