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Ex-NTF adviser favors redefining ‘fully vaccinated’ to include first booster jab

A former government adviser on Thursday backed the plan of the Department of Health (DOH) to propose anew the redefinition of the term “fully vaccinated” to include those who have received their first COVID-19 booster shot.

At the Palace public briefing, former National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said there are a lot of vaccines that usually require at least three doses such as those for polio and hepatitis B.

“Kadalasan talaga hindi pa natin alam nung nag-uumpisa tayo kung ano talaga ang sapat na numero ng bakuna para ikaw ay matawag na fully vaccinated,” he said.

“Ako, payo ako…sang-ayon ako sa mungkahi na gawing three talaga ang tinatawag na fully vaccinated para at least mas maraming tao ang mapo-protektahan lalong lalo na na mago-open tayo ng ating paaralan,” he added.

(When we start vaccination, we usually really don't know what is the sufficient number of doses for you to be considered as fully vaccinated. I agree with the suggestion that the definition of the fully vaccinated be changed so that more people can be protected, especially now that we will reopen the schools.)

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday they will propose to the Office of the President that the fully vaccinated definition be refined to include the first booster shot.

Further, Herbosa underscored the importance of receiving the booster shots as the immunity against COVID-19 wanes three to six months after receiving the primary vaccine series.

“Very important na i-announce talaga na ang ating proteksyon…nagwe-wane ang antibodies, bumababa ang lebel kaya kailangan talagang magpa-booster ‘yung nabakunahan na ng dalawang primary dose,” he said.

(It is very important to announce that our antibodies disappear and the level of protection is decreasing. Those who have been vaccinated with two primary doses really need to get a booster.)

Herbosa also earlier backed the proposal of former Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion to put an expiry date on the validity of vaccination cards and replace them with booster cards to encourage more people to get their booster shots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on DOH’s latest data, 16.8 million Filipinos have now received their booster shots, while 72 million are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. — RSJ, GMA News