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COVID-19 Booster Shots Recommended by the Department of Health

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 05

    COVID-19 Booster Shots Recommended by the Department of Health

    In 2021, 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 have started by the 4th quarter of the (2021) year if there is enough supply.

    For the other priority groups up to A5, COVID-19 booster shots were 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 (2 doses) 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 (2nd and 3rd/bivalent) 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 definite schedule for when the roll-outs for further 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 as with other vaccines, 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 have been already available in the Philippines. They have been rolled out since 2022 and as more people get vaccinated, Covid 19 spread is seemingly better controlled.

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

    Learn more about Coronavirus here.


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

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Feb 05

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