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Bivalent COVID jabs out by June21, DOH vows

The Philippines will begin distributing bivalent COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare workers and senior citizens starting June 21, the Department of Health said Friday.

The modified jabs will be launched through a ceremony at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City next week, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will attend, the DOH said.

The Philippines received early this month some 390,000 doses of the adapted version of the original vaccine from Lithuania.

Those eligible for the first phase of the bivalent vaccine rollout include healthcare workers and senior citizens who received their second booster shots at least 4 to 6 months ago.

The DOH urged eligible Filipinos to get inoculated with the bivalent vaccines, which are modified to target both the original and omicron strains of the coronavirus.

“Despite the decreasing trend of the COVID-19 positivity rate of 11.6 percent in the National Capital Region as of June 10, we still encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as the threat of infection still continues,” Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said in a statement.

Vaccines were proven safe and effective and also given for free, he stressed.

“People should not be complacent, especially the senior citizens who are high-risk individuals and persons taking care of those with COVID-19,” Herbosa said.

The bivalent vaccines are set to expire on Nov. 23. Latest DOH data showed that some 78.4 million Filipinos were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Of the figure, over 23.8 million have received their first booster dose while almost 4.4 million have gotten the second booster shot.

The Philippines on Thursday logged 528 new coronavirus infections, raising its tally to 4,157,172. Of the figure, some 9,783 are active COVID-19 cases.

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