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COVID-19 WATCH

Decision on booster shots may be out this week — FDA

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The Department of Health (DoH) is expected to announce its decision on the third dose or booster shots within this week, Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said Wednesday.

“The All Expert Group (AEG) has a meeting today to discuss its possible recommendation particularly for health workers who are highly vulnerable and have high exposure to Covid,” Domingo said.

“I think the Department of Health will come up with a position within this week,” he added.

Last Friday, the DoH issued a statement that opposed presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s pronouncement that the country’s vaccine experts had already recommended booster shots for health workers.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, AEG and the DoH are still deliberating the issue carefully.

However, she said only the Vaccine Experts Panel had recommended the use of booster shots on health workers.

Earlier, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe called for a moratorium on administering booster shots even for medical frontliners.

Abeyasinghe cited “huge vaccine inequity issue globally” as the reason why the WHO called for the extension of moratorium on booster shots through the end of the year.

However, he said, there is an exception for “immunocompromised individuals” who may be required to get another dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Earlier this month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is already in negotiation with vaccine manufacturers that could supply booster shots.

Galvez also said that Sinovac BioNTech is willing to donate 500,000 doses of booster shots for healthcare workers.

Since the start of the pandemic in March last year, a total of 104 healthcare workers have succumbed to the dreaded respiratory disease.

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