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COVID-19 boosters still effective vs. Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 — expert

The current booster doses against COVID-19 are still effective against the new Omicron subvariant BA.2.75, Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) chief Dr. Nina Gloriani said Thursday.

In radio interview, Gloriani echoed the statement of infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante that the BA.2.75 dubbed as “Centaurus,” may be more transmissible compared to the other subvariants and has the possibility to evade the current COVID-19 vaccines.

However, she said the study shows that booster shots can still help protect the people against the BA.2.75–an Omicron subvariant under monitoring by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Sa ngayon, ang nakita nila ay nakakatulong ang booster dose. Ang booster dose ay nage-expand, nagbo-broaden ‘yung kanyang immune response, ‘yung iba’t ibang klase na antibodies for instance, mako-cover kasama ‘yung mga variants,” Gloriani explained.

(So far, the booster dose helps. It expands or broadens the immune response for the antibodies to cover the COVID-19 variants.)

“So far, okay pa naman siya (it’s still okay), but of course we’re looking at updated versions ng vaccines na more variant-specific later on,” she added.

Based on the Department of Health's (DOH) latest data, at least 15.7 million individuals have received their first booster dose, while some 1.1 million have received their second booster dose.

Solante on Wednesday said it is just a matter of time when the BA.2.75 will enter the Philippines, thus the government should prepare for this possibility.

In line with this, the DOH, along with the local government units, is set to launch on July 26 a campaign that aims to administer booster shots to 23.8 million Filipinos or 50% of the country's eligible population within the first 100 days of the Marcos administration. — Giselle Ombay/RSJ, GMA News