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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

DOH considers new definition of ‘fully vaccinated’

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The Department of Health (DOH) is considering the redefinition of the validity of fully inoculated individuals’ vaccination cards, the agency spokesperson said on Monday.

The DOH has also asked for amendments to the emergency use authorization (EUA) of COVID-19 vaccines so teenagers 12 to 17 could have their boosters, the agency spokesperson said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the same process is underway for a possible fourth dose. They were just waiting for the regulatory body to release the amendments.

Meanwhile, the government will no longer procure certain COVID-19 vaccine brands from other countries and only streamline the list of remaining vaccines that are set to be reduced to two to three brands soon, the department added.

It said less than 10 percent of the total number of COVID-19 vaccines received by the government are considered wastage due to logistical issues.

Meanwhile, 707 persons, or 12.6 percent of COVID-19 patients in hospitals, were in severe and critical condition.

In related developments, no more areas in Metro Manila are under granular lockdown, the Philippine National Police reported Monday, as cases in the region remains low.

But the National Capital Region Police Office continues to remind the public to remain vigilant as the threat of COVID-19 remains.

Also, the possible entry into the Philippines of the “Omicron XE” subvariant and the low rate of booster shot coverage of Filipinos have caused alarm among members of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP).

The private sector and some members of the vaccine expert panel have recommended that government redefine the meaning of full vaccination due to low booster shot uptake.

“We are set to redefine these fully vaccinated individuals. But right now we’re still onto discussing this with our experts as to how we’re going to have this validity for our vaccination cards so we can be able to improve further our booster vaccination,” Vergere said in an interview Ito ANC’s Headstart.

Vergeire reiterated that vaccination is voluntary in the Philippines after proposals that booster shot cards be required in establishments.
“What our public should be informed of would be the importance of booster shots. Restrictions would be like incentivizing and disincentivizing those that are being vaccinated and government is already doing that,” she said.

“We need to be able to discuss this further. Like when we redefine our fully vaccinated, this means that this will be the ones adopted by our establishments as to disincentives that those without boosters will be doing.”

Only 12.3 million of 44 million eligible individuals have received their booster shots, said Vergeire.

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