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Galvez favors COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for health workers, people with comorbidities

Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Wednesday said he is in favor of giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to healthcare workers and people with comorbidities.

“I don’t have any problem with it. Our healthcare workers must be given full protection,” he said in Filipino during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay online forum, adding Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac is willing to donate 500,000 booster doses for medical workers. 

Galvez, however, said the government is still waiting for the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the vaccine expert panel.

The Duterte administration has requested for standby authority from Congress to buy P45.367 billion worth of booster doses next year.

Last week, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said evidence supporting booster doses remains “minimal” and incomplete, although “we already have saved money for our booster shots for 2022 if ever it is approved.”

The United States earlier approved booster shots for Americans eight months after getting fully vaccinated.

The WHO, meanwhile, said evidence still does not support the use of booster doses as further research is needed. — RSJ, GMA News