By Tracy Cabrera
A growing number of minors, aged 12 to 17, are now being administered with Covid-19 vaccines to ramp up the country’s national vaccination program. (Photo: CNN Philippines)
MANILA — Following an announcement from the Department of Health (DoH) that the government will start administering today booster shots to all fully vaccinated adults, Partido Reporma senatorial aspirant appealed to those who have not yet received even a single dose of the anti-Covid-19 vaccines to avail the free vaccination program in order for them to be protected from the disease, especially in the light of the threat of the new South African Covid mutation named Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO)
Under the guidelines released by the health department, homologous doses (same brand) will be available to those who received Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna as their primary vaccines and only Sputnik V and Janssen which have no available booster shot since the authorities are still waiting for the delivery of both vaccines.
As for heterologous doses (mixed brand), the DoH said that AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be administered as booster shots or additional doses for those who were jabbed with Sinovac, Sputnik V and Janssen.
Pfizer and Moderna shots may also be given to those vaccinated with AstraZeneca; Moderna and AstraZeneca for those inoculated with Pfizer, and Pfizer and AstraZeneca for those who got Moderna shots.
Health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed that those 18 years old and above may avail themselves of the booster shots six months after their second dose for all vaccines except Janssen, which should be taken three months after the single dose.
Vergeire, in a television interview, also reminded local government units to still prioritize the vaccination of health-care workers, senior citizens and immune-compromised individuals.
Despite recent efforts by health authorities to reach herd immunity for the general public with the goal of achieving at least 80 percent vaccination of the country’s whole population, as of last count only 33.6 percent or 36.9 million individuals have been inoculated out of the 89.1 million doses provided by the government.
In reaction to what may be considered a huge deficit in the government’s national vaccination program, Eleazar noted that there are still some people who are hesitant to be administered the vaccine or else are totally against vaccination for different reasons ranging from fear of side effects or issues of vaccine efficacy to lack of education and information and even for religious beliefs.
“Kaya nga ang sinasabi ko ay dapat na magsagawa tayo ng malawakang information campaign dahil marami sa ating mga kababayan ang bantulot na magpabakuna at ito ay dahil sa kulang ang kaalaman nila sa halaga ng bakuna, lalo na iyong mga nasa malalayong lugar na halos hindi naaabot ng sapat na komunikasyon o impormasyon,” the former Philippine National Police Chief pointed out.
He added that local government officials down to the barangay level must find ways to convince their constituents to have themselves vaccinated.
“Nagsimula na nga tayo ng booster shots e marami pa rin ang hindi pa nga nababakunahan kahit isang beses. Ito ang dapat nating harapin at solusyunan—ang makumbinsi na tayong lahat ay magkaroon ng proteksyon laban sa Covid-19,” he stressed. (ai/mtvn)