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DOH expands COVID-19 booster eligibility to senior citizens, people with comorbidities

The Department of Health on Sunday expanded the eligibility for booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities.

In an advisory, the DOH said the administration of booster doses to those part of priority groups A2 and A3 will begin on Monday, November 22.

Immunocompromised individuals who are eligible to receive the additional vaccine dose include those with immunodeficiency state, people living with HIV, active cancer or malignancy, transplant patients, and patients under immunosuppressive treatments.

The DOH said those belonging to A2 and A3 categories are eligible to be given a single COVID-19 booster dose, either a homologous or a heterologous dose.

A homologous booster dose means an individual will be inoculated with the same vaccine brand used in their primary series while a heterologous booster dose means an individual will be vaccinated with a different brand.

The DOH said Filipinos who were vaccinated with Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Gamaleya Sputnik for their primary dose series must wait at least six months before getting a booster shot.

Meanwhile, those who were vaccinated with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for their primary dose series must wait until three months.

For the heterologous booster dose, DOH recommended the following brands:

  • Sinovac (primary series) — AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna (booster)
  • AstraZeneca (primary series) — Pfizer, Moderna (booster)
  • Pfizer (primary series) — AstraZeneca, Moderna (booster)
  • Moderna (primary series) — AstraZeneca, Pfizer (booster)
  • Gamaleya (primary series) — Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna (booster)
  • Janssen (primary series) — AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna (booster)

The DOH said the implementation of the administration for booster doses will be in phases. Phase 1 will cover all senior citizens and A3 individuals in immunocompromised state, while during Phase 2 the remaining A3 population with other comorbidities will be given the booster.

The DOH and the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations reiterated that the administration of booster doses is conducted in a phased approach and is not yet available for the general population. — BM, GMA News