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Booster shot opportunists warned

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Private motorists queue up for booster vaccines against Covid-19 on the ninth day of the Manila caravan at the Quirino Grandstand inside Luneta Park Sunday. The rollout is open to the public, even to residents outside of the city from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Joey Sanchez Mendoza)

The National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) on Sunday issued a warning against individuals taking advantage of the free Covid-19 booster shots by getting additional doses.

In a text message to the Daily Tribune, NVOC chairperson Myrna Cabotaje said they have received reports that certain individuals got vaccinated with more Covid-19 doses than what is currently allowed.

“We have received anecdotes but we have not really looked into this,”Cabotaje, who is also a Department of Health (DoH) Undersecretary, said.

At the moment, the government allows only the administration of booster doses or the so-called third dose to individuals aged 18 years old and above.

Cabotaje said individuals who will be caught receiving more than the prescribed Covid-19 vaccine doses will face sanctions from authorities.

“We will refer them to our legal department. We will see what can be done,” she added.

Cabotaje appealed to the public not to take advantage of getting more Covid-19 vaccine doses since many Filipinos are not yet vaccinated.

“Just a plea to the public, no unnecessary Covid-19 shots,” she stressed. We would like to channel our energies to vaccinating the unvaccinated and give them second shots as well as needed boosters.”

In a separate interview, Cabotaje admitted that verification through the government’s database whether an individual has already received a third dose or booster shot usually takes time.

“It will take some time for us to check the database. We will refer this issue to the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology). As I said, we need to be honest,” the official said in her interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

She noted that while there is no danger in getting more Covid-19 vaccine doses than what is currently allowed, however, it would be difficult for the authorities to identify which vaccine caused the side effect once an individual experiences side effects.

“If you received multiple shots of Covid-19 vaccines and you were not aware of what you received, we will have a hard time to know what would be our response, if ever they experience an adverse event,” she added.

 

Covid-19 vaccine deaths

Since the government started its Covid-19 vaccine rollout in March last year, there have been three reported deaths related to Covid-19 vaccination, according to Cabotaje.

The official did not give further details on these cases but she noted that the verification process to determine whether an individual’s death is due to Covid-19 vaccine takes time.

“Need to go back and verify the records. That is what I only remember based on the records,” Cabotaje told the Daily Tribune.

Based on the latest data from the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard, the country has administered a total of 123,099,717 doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

Of the administered vaccines, 57,190,586 are fully vaccinated individuals, 59,753,572 are first dose, and 6,155,559 are booster doses.

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