The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has yet to decide on the proposal to give medical front-liners a booster shot for an added protection against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said Tuesday.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) only made a recommendation to provide Covid-19 booster shots to medical front-liners amid the spike in coronavirus infections in the country.
Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the VEP’s proposal still needs to undergo a thorough study.
“Lilinawin lang po natin. Wala pa pong desisyon na magkaroon ng Covid-19 booster shots para sa mga healthcare workers. Meron lang pong rekomendasyon pa lang ang Vaccine Expert Panel or VEP (We will just clarify. There is no decision yet on the proposed Covid-19 booster shots for healthcare workers. The Vaccine Expert Panel or VEP only made a recommendation). And it is still up for review,” he said.
Roque issued the clarification a day after he issued a statement on Monday that the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) already gave the greenlight to give a third shot to medical front-liners.
The VEP has recommended to make booster shots available to health workers following the allegedly waning immunity of some Covid-19 vaccines.
The Department of Health, however, clarified Monday that its All Expert Group is still deliberating on the VEP’s proposal.
The national government has included in its proposed 2022 budget the allotment of PHP45.3 billion fund for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots.
National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on September 11 said the government’s negotiating team for vaccine procurement is working to buy reformulated booster jabs that are recommended amid the prevailing pandemic.
Galvez said the next-generation vaccine boosters will extend the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine.
As of September 11, around 38,746,501 individuals have been inoculated against Covid-19 in the Philippines, according to the data released by the NTF Against Covid-19.
About 21,951,956 of the 38,746,501 vaccinated individuals have already been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while the remaining 16,794,545 have received the first dose. (PNA)