The Department of Health (DOH) said it has allowed the use of Pfizer bivalent vaccines as third booster dose against COVID-19.
The DOH made the announcement while waiting for the arrival of more COVID-19 bivalent vaccines in the country.
In a memorandum signed by DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire dated March 31, the DOH said a “phased approach” shall be followed wherein adults belonging to A1 (healthcare workers) and A2 (senior citizens) categories will be the first ones to be given the Pfizer bivalent vaccine as third booster dose.
Those who will be vaccinated need to wait at least four months after receiving their second booster shot before they take the next one, the DOH said.
The health department also said select hospitals and other health facilities, like city health offices and rural health units, will be used for the pilot roll-out in all regions in the country.
Inoculation for other population groups shall then be opened in succeeding phases, subject to the availability of stocks and possible technical changes.
As of March 20, 2023, DOH’s data showed that 674,471 healthcare workers, and 970,020 senior citizens have received their second booster dose.
The Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) had recommended on February 15 the use of COVID-19 Pfizer bivalent vaccine as a first, second, and/or third booster dose for adults belonging to the A1, A2, and A3 (people with comorbidities) categories, four to six months after receiving the primary series or the last booster dose, according to DOH.
The Philippines, however, is experiencing delays in the arrival of the bivalent vaccines. There were 391,000 doses that were supposed to arrive in May.