MANILA – Immunocompromised adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old can now receive their booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines, a health official said Wednesday.
In an online media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this group include those who are undergoing cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood; undergoing organ transplant; received stem cell transplant within the last two years; have moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency; have advance or untreated HIV infection; have active treatment with high dose corticosteroids or other drugs; undergoing dialysis; living with autoimmune disease and treatment with specific immuno-suppressive medications; and diagnosed with conditions considered to be immunocompromised like those experiencing malnutrition.
"Ang iba pong mga kabataan 12 to 17 years old ay isusunod na rin po (Other adolescents 12 to 17 years will be eligible for booster) soon, maybe next week or a couple of days after the immunocompromised," she said.
"Gusto lang po natin ayusin ang pagpapatupad at gusto nating maiuna muna ang (We just want the implementation to be orderly and prioritize the) immunocompromised children," she added.
The booster shot maybe administered at least 28 days after the second dose of the primary series.
On June 14, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization allowing Pfizer BioNTech vaccines as booster doses for adolescents.
The Health Technology Assessment Council also gave a positive recommendation for the Pfizer booster shot which Health Secretary Francisco Duque III approved Tuesday.
As of June 20, the Department of Health said almost 9.5 million adolescents are fully vaccinated along with almost 3.3 million children.
The country has vaccinated 77.85 percent or more than 70 million of its target population.
Meantime, about 14.8 million have received their first booster shot and more than 682,000 healthcare workers, senior citizens, immunocompromised and individuals with comorbidities have received their second booster doses.
No 2nd booster for general population yet
Meanwhile, a health official said the country’s Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) has yet to provide recommendations on administering Covid-19 second booster shot or a fourth dose to the general population.
In a Laging Handa briefing, NVOC chairperson, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, said there is still a need to improve the country’s vaccination rate for the first booster dose while waiting for the HTAC recommendations on the administration second booster dose.
“Ayon sa ating projections at kung walang mga new variants of concern, magkakaroon tayo ng peak in cases, estimate nila by July. Importante pa rin iyong [mapataas ang] booster rates natin ng first dose (According to our projections and if there are no new variants of concern, they estimated that we will be having a peak in cases by July. It is important to increase the rates of our booster dose),” Cabotaje said. (with Lade Kabagani/PNA)