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DOST’s expert panel carefully studying use of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

The country’s vaccine expert panel (VEP) is still studying whether or not medical workers who completed their two-dose regimen need to receive a booster shot.


Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) VEP chair Dr. Nina Gloriani said their study is not only limited to medical workers immunized with China’s Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine or CoronaVac.

“We are still studying the matter not only for Sinovac but for all vaccines. Even Pfizer recommends a third dose for their vaccine,” she told the Manila Bulletin on Friday, July 9, when asked if her panel would recommend to the Department of Health (DOH) to offer a booster shot to health workers vaccinated with Sinovac jab.

“All these recommendations have implications so we cannot rush them,” Gloriani pointed out.

Reuters reported that Indonesia and Thailand were eyeing to offer a booster shot to their medical workers vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine.

It has been noted that some Middle East countries including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have already begun giving a booster shot to those who received Chine vaccines “amid concerns that they may not be effective against new and more transmissible coronavirus variants.”

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, July 9, said the local health experts are not yet recommending the use of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine booster doses as there is still insufficient evidence that it is “going to be safe.”

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Last month, Gloriani urged fully vaccinated Filipinos to shelve their plans to receive booster shots in spirit of “equity,” considering the country’s limited vaccine supply.

She affirmed that booster shots could increase one’s level of protection against COVID-19.

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Gloriani had expressed hopes that the Philippines’ study on the safety and efficacy of mixing and matching five COVID-19 jabs will start soon.

The DOST announced early June that the mix-and-match study is expected to start by July.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, who chairs the Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES), said the 18 month-long clinical trial will involve 3,000 participants who are aged 18 and above and come from A1 to A4 priority groups under the country’s vaccination program.

The study will be conducted by the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI), led by Dr. Michelle De Vera.

Before the clinical trial starts, the PSAAI has to secure the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB).

Guevara said five vaccine brands will be used for the PSAAI study. These are Sinovac, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna.

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— Charissa Luci-Atienza 



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