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DOH exec: Booster shots EUA approved for ages 18 and up

A Department of Health official said Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the use of COVID-19 booster shots among vaccinated 18 years old and above.

"The EUA has been approved, we will just finalize the guidelines, in the next couple of days, we will have the boosters for all 18 years old and above,” Department of Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said in a Laging Handa interview.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo confirmed the EUA approval that was given on Monday. He said the DOH will craft the guidelines as well as the implementation plan, which  will be up and running soon.

Individuals ages 18 and up who are six-months past their second dose may also avail of the booster shot during the second leg of national vaccination drive dubbed “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” on December 15 to 17, he added.

Domingo said that the booster brands that will be administered for this group are the same with the booster brands for the health care workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised.

Volume of booster shot for various brands: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: 0.3 ml/dose
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: 0.25 ml/dose (half of the regular dose)
  • Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine: 0.5 ml/dose
  • AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: 0.5 ml/dose

Meanwhile, Cabotaje pointed out that while the government is happy that lots of people have expressed their support for the booster shots, it still sees the need for the unvaccinated to get their first dose, and those who had their first shot to complete their vaccination.

She noted that around 600,000 booster shots have been administered since Monday, the start of the three-day national vaccination drive dubbed “Bayanihan, Bakunahan”.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Sunday that the government is eyeing to open booster jabs to fully vaccinated government workers and economic frontliners in December.

On the other hand, testing czar Vince Dizon on Wednesday said the supply for the boosters is not a problem, noting that the government is ramping up the administration of not just the primary doses, but also the boosters due to the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

“We have already decided because we already have enough supply ... and more are coming in weeks and months,  and boosters for everyone will be opened if you’re already 6 months and beyond [past] the second shot,” he said.

Likewise, he said the country has already received 142 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from various brands, and  40 million of which are in stock while over 20 million more are expected to arrive in December.

At least 2.3 million COVID-19 jabs were administered on Tuesday, the second day of the vaccination drive, on top of the 2.708 million doses recorded on the first day, November 29.

Earlier, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 adjusted its target vaccination output for the three-day vaccination drive from 15 million to nine million due to shortage in ancillary supplies, particularly syringes.

But Cabotaje said, “We are still hopeful na ma-meet natin iyong (that we can hit) 9-million target. But just in case we will be unable to reach it, this record is already high.” —LBG, GMA News