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Experts say inappropriate to redefine ‘fully vaccinated’ –Vergeire

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday said experts opposed the proposal to redefine “fully vaccinated” individuals, saying it was inappropriate amid the concern raised about the low booster uptake in the country.

Vergeire issued the remark after Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion proposed redefining who should be considered as a fully vaccinated person.

“Isa 'yan sa mga pinag0uusapan natin ng Department of Health (DOH) with our experts. But of course, according to our experts they were saying na mukhang hindi talaga appropriate. Naghanap tayo ng mga ebidensya at practices na ginagawa sa ibang bansa especially among credible institutions abroad,” Vergeire said during the Palace briefing.

(That is one of the things the DOH is discussing with our experts. But of course, according to our experts, they were saying that it does not really seem appropriate. We looked for evidence and practices being done abroad especially among credible institutions abroad.)

The Health undersecretary said institutions including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not redefine their meaning of “fully vaccinated,” noting that they included the word “up to date.”

“Ang CDC po hindi po nila niredefine ang kanilang fully vaccinated definition ‘yun pa rin 'yung primary series first and second dose. Pero naglagay po sila ng up to date, ibig sabihin if you are fully vaccinated, you need to update your immunization,” she said.

(The CDC did not redefine their definition of “fully vaccinated.” It is still the primary series, first and second dose. But they included up to date, meaning if you are fully vaccinated, you need to update your immunization.)

“Kaya doon po sa cards nila mayroon silang fully vaccinated na first and second dose and then nilalagay din po updated or up to date ang kanilang bakuna kapag nakareceive na sila ng booster shots,” she added.

(On their cards, fully vaccinated is still written for those who received first and second dose, and then they also put updated or up to date when they receive booster shots.)

She said they were still studying the proposal, adding they will be issuing these once they finalized the agreements.

Concepcion suggested that the term "fully vaccinated" be redefined as those who have received a booster dose.

The presidential adviser also proposed putting an expiry date on the validity of vaccination cards, which would then be replaced by booster cards once they expire.

44 million Filipinos eligible for booster shots

Vergeire also appealed to eligible individuals to receive their booster shots, citing that it will not only protect themselves but the whole community as well.

The Health undersecretary said there are at least 44 million Filipinos already eligible to receive their booster shots.

“Nanawagan po tayo sa ating mga kababayan na nakatanggap na po ng primary series nila or nakatapos ng first and second dose, kailangan ninyo pong magpabooster shot para madagdagan ang proteksyon,” she said.

(We call on our fellow Filipinos who have already received their primary series or completed the first and second dose, you need to get a booster shot to increase protection.)

“Tandaan po natin evidence state, especially in terms of Omicron variant, na nabawasan ang mga proteksyon na binigay sa atin ng mga first and second dose dahil apektado po sila ng Omicron variant. So kapag tayo ay nagpabooster naipakita po sa mga ebidensya naibabalik po 'yung proteksyon na ‘yun kapag tayo ay makakatanggap ulit ng booster shots,” she added.

(Let us remember the evidence, especially in terms of the Omicron variant, shows the protection given to us by the first and second doses have been reduced because they are affected by the Omicron variant. So when we receive a booster shot, the evidence shows protection is restored.)

She said almost 12 million Filipinos already got their booster shots.

Latest vaccination figures

Vergeire said at least 72.81% of the target population are vaccinated as of March 24.

Meanwhile, a total of 736,143 children are fully vaccinated, while at least 1.8 million children received their first dose.

She added that almost 8.9 million adolescents are now fully vaccinated against the viral disease, while 9.87 million got their first dose.—AOL, GMA News