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COVID-19 Booster Shots Recommended by the Department of Health

COVID-19 Booster Shots Recommended by the Department of Health

Recently, the Department of Health approved a recommendation made by the HTAC or Health Technology Assessment council. This is with regard to COVID-19 booster shots for those who have already been vaccinated.

DOH Recommends COVID-19 Booster Shots

Based on the recommendations made by the HTAC, priority groups A1 and A3, or healthcare workers and the elderly, need booster shots 6 months after their 2nd vaccination1. Ideally, the vaccinations should start by the 4th quarter of this year if there is enough supply.

For the other priority groups up to A5, COVID-19 booster shots will be implemented by 2022. However, there needs to be enough vaccine coverage in the area before this can start. This is because the number 1 priority is to fully vaccinate as many people as possible before giving booster shots.

According to the HTAC, rolling out booster shots won’t affect the supply for those who are unvaccinated so long as the guidelines are followed.

The HTAC also made some recommendations regarding which type of booster shots are compatible. Here are their recommendations:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – Pfizer-BioNTech
  • AstraZeneca – Pfizer-BioNTech is ideal, with AstraZeneca an alternative
  • Janssen – Janssen
  • Sinovac – Pfizer-BioNTech is ideal, with AstraZeneca or Sinovac as alternatives
  • Moderna – Pfizer-BioNTech is ideal, with Moderna as an alternative

The HTAC added that they will also be monitoring any new information regarding COVID-19 booster shots. They will be updating their recommendations as soon as they receive new information.

Despite this information, the Department of Health has yet to establish a schedule for when the rollouts for the COVID-19 booster shots will occur. In the meantime, everyone should still practice the safety guidelines for COVID-19 in order to stay safe.

Why Are Booster Shots Necessary?

When people started getting the vaccines, there were questions on how long the vaccine’s effects will last. While the currently available vaccines are effective, its possible that their effects can be reduced over time. This doesn’t mean that the vaccine loses all its effectiveness, since the body has an immunologic memory2, or a memory of vaccines or past infections.

Regardless, a booster shot can help improve a person’s immune response to illness. A booster shot can improve immune response against a specific disease, and this helps strengthen the body’s immunity.

Booster shots can either be exactly the same as the original vaccine, or slightly tweaked to improve immune response. Ideally, patients should get the same booster as their vaccine3. One exception is with Sinovac, where the recommended vaccine is either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines. However, doctors have found that patients can “mix-and-match” their vaccines without any significant problems.

Its also possible to experience side effects from booster shots, so it’s a good idea to be ready just in case.

Another important thing to know is that not everyone necessarily needs a booster shot. Those who are immunocompromised or at risk of severe complications from COVID-19 are the ones who need to be prioritized for the booster shots. Eventually, the rest of the population will also be given booster shots.

Key Takeaways

Booster shots can help provide long-lasting effects for vaccines. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the currently available vaccines are not effective, or can’t provide adequate protection.

At the moment, booster shots are not yet available in the Philippines. However, they will be rolled out as soon as more people get vaccinated, and an adequate supply of the vaccine has been procured.

In the meantime, it is our responsibility to make sure that we are doing our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This means wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, maintaining social distancing, and washing our hands often.

Learn more about Coronavirus here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 HTAC Recommendations on Booster and Additional Dose, https://hta.doh.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Signed-by-OSEC-HTAC-Recommendations-on-Booster-and-Additional-Dose.pdf, Accessed October 26, 2021

2 Do You Need a COVID-19 Booster? What We Know So Far > News > Yale Medicine, https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-booster, Accessed October 26, 2021

3 Booster Shots and Third Doses for COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/booster-shots-and-third-doses-for-covid19-vaccines-what-you-need-to-know, Accessed October 26, 2021

4 Are COVID-19 vaccine boosters or extra shots recommended? – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-boosters, Accessed October 26, 2021

5 Covid booster vaccines: what you need to know | BHF, https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/coronavirus-and-your-health/covid-booster-vaccine, Accessed October 26, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Oct 28
Fact Checked by Cesar Beltran