Land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers set for deployment may soon get COVID-19 booster shots, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced Saturday.
This developed as the clinical trial for the P240-million mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccines in the country has started, according to the Department of Science and Technology.
Also, over 2,000 health care workers have received booster shots since the rollout earlier this week, the Department of Health said Saturday.
However, an official of the government's task force against COVID-19 on Saturday called on the public to be "conscious" when going out and to still bring face shields, as some establishments require it amid the looser quarantine.
National Task Force Against COVID-19 Spokesperson Restituto Padilla said the policy OFWs…should not be taken against the government or the private sector, as this provides additional protection.
This follows the government's decision to relax the face shield requirement, making it voluntary in areas under looser quarantine levels.
Meanwhile, the third batch of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for this month arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday, as the latest shipment brings to 13.9 million the total doses of Moderna jabs received by the country.
The country's current supply of coronavirus vaccines is more than enough to cover the targeted number of vaccinees and initial recipients of booster shots before the year ends, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 medical adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said.
In a report, Galvez said the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 “already decided to provide boosters to our OFWs and seafarers who are about to be deployed within 4 months.”
Galvez said the IATF requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make the necessary inclusions and amendments to rules to include migrant workers as priority for booster shots.
The government so far allows booster shots to be given those in the top priority sectors: health workers, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities. The rest of the population may be scheduled for boosters later.
“We may include the remaining A4, A5, and the General Population starting December or next year when we've reached the threshold of more than 50% [of the population who have] received their second dose,” Galvez said. (See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Meanwhile, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara on Saturday said the trial began in Marikina City on Friday and will start in Muntinlupa next week. The other cities involved in the trials are Davao, Manila, and Dasmariñas in Cavite.
"The cost of the clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine mix-and-match program is P204 million. The bulk of the expenses will be for the tests that will be done on the participants," Guevara said in an interview on Dobol B TV.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a total of 2,488 COVID-19 booster shots have been administered to health care workers nationwide.
Of the figure, only around 2 percent experienced adverse events, which included pain in the vaccination site, fever, and increased blood pressure.
"All of them were managed accordingly. No one was hospitalized and there was no bad outcome," Vergeire noted in a public briefing.