(PNA photo by Gil Calinga)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is in talks with the manufacturers of new generation vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a health official said Friday.

In a media briefing, DOH Officer in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the new Covid-19 jabs, which are specifically formulated for the Omicron variant, would be evaluated based on the processes of the Philippine government.

“We already had initially some talks with these manufacturers kung saan mayroon po tayong mga inaayos, especially ‘yung ating mga non-disclosure agreement. Pangalawa, ‘yung mga term sheets natin (where we are working on the non-disclosure agreement. Secondly, our term sheets),” Vergeire said. “So, ‘pag tiningnan natin ‘yung ating proseso, ‘yung ating estimate na maaari natin makakuha ng ganitong bakuna, baka mga first quarter ng 2023 pa (So, if we look at our process, we might be able to get the vaccines by first quarter of 2023).”

While waiting for the new jabs, Vergeire encouraged the public to focus their attention on receiving their booster shots, specifically the first dose.

“Matagal pa ‘yung panahon mula ngayon, which is September hanggang sa first quarter ng 2023. Kailangan mayroong nakaakibat na proteksiyon ang ating mga kababayan habang nag-aantay (That’s a long time from now, which is September until the first quarter of 2023. Our fellowmen must have protection while waiting) for these new vaccines that will come in the country,” she said.

As of September 8, almost 72.7 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated.

More than 18.4 million individuals have received their first booster doses and more than 2.4 million have received their second booster shots. (PNA)