MANILA – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the bivalent coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine, said to be an "updated" booster shot against the Omicron variant.

FDA Director General Samuel Zacate confirmed on Tuesday that the agency had granted the emergency use authorization (EUA) for bivalent shots manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.

Zacate, however, deferred to the Department of Health (DOH) when asked about the priority group and its recommended use.

"For the approval, yes, it is confirmed, but for the details, all Covid-related issues are being channeled to DOH Sec. (Ma. Rosario) Vergeire for proper and streamlined communication with (the) public," he said in a text message.

In a briefing Tuesday, Vergeire said the DOH is in the process of procuring the vaccines "because articles and evidence have shown" that it could better protect the public against Covid-19, especially emerging variants.

The reformulated shot includes a component of the original SARS-COV-2 strain from 2019 and the Omicron variant to provide the public with broader protection.

The Philippines targets to procure the vaccine by early 2023. (PNA)