Elderly, immunocompromised to get booster shots starting Nov. 22

MANILA – Senior citizens and immunocompromised persons are now eligible to get booster shots of the coronavirus vaccine starting Monday.

In a public advisory released Monday night, the Department of Health (DOH) said next to health care workers, senior citizens (A2) get booster doses and immunocompromised persons (A3) with additional or third dose as part of the primary series.

The immunocompromised includes those living with HIV, have active cancer or malignancy, transplant patients, and under immunosuppressive treatments.

“Administration of booster doses is conducted in a phased approach and is not yet available for the general population,” the advisory read.

An additional dose is given to people with moderate or severely compromised immune systems to improve their response to the initial vaccine series while a booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot has begun to decrease over time.

Here are the recommended dose schedule and combinations:

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Edsel Salvana, who is also a member of the DOH Technical Advisory Group, said a physician would have to certify that a person is immunocompromised and recommend whether a heterologous or homologous third dose is indicated.

"This is because A3 immunocompromised may have specific conditions which warrant specific booster types and proper timing of boosting," he said in a Facebook post.

Salvana said the DOH decided to call the additional dose for seniors "boosters" to align with the US Centers for Disease Control and allow heterologous vaccination.

"This also aligns with the EUA (emergency use authorization) provisions. In addition, to align with the EUA, boosters/additional doses are given 6 months after the second dose," he said.

Only one dose of any of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Moderna (half dose) are allowed as booster/additional dose, Salvana said.

"This needs to be given six months after the second dose, with the exception of Janssen which is three months from the first and only dose," he said.

The Philippine government has rolled out its booster vaccination for the healthcare workers last week, with a target to cover the country's more than one million medical front-liners before the year ends.

Theadministration of booster doses is simultaneous with the ramping up of first and second-dose vaccination for children and the general population. (PNA)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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