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9-M Booster Shots Administered Before Duterte’s Term Ends Viable

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An infectious disease expert said Wednesday that the target of administering 8 to 9 million booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine is achievable before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

Vaccine Experts Panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante said in a televised public briefing that the administration of vaccine shots was at a consistent pace, only slowing down during the campaign period and elections.

“Sa tingin ko attainable ‘yan kasi medyo bumagal lang nang konti during the election at saka mga campaign period (I believe that it is attainable since it only slowed down slightly during the election and the campaign periods),” Solante said.

Recent Department of Health (DOH) data as of May 9 showed that around 13.5 million fully vaccinated individuals have so far received booster shots.

However, there are still 37.8 million individuals eligible for booster shots who are yet to receive their doses.

Solante added that the DOH is focusing on encouraging more individuals to have their booster shots in preparation for possible Omicron subvariant surges.

“Gayunpaman, ang purpose natin dito, ang objective natin dito, mapaigting natin ang first booster sa population because based on data, kapag meron kang first booster or third dose, malaki ang chance natin ng (Our purpose here, our objective here, is to strengthen ther first booster administration for the population because based on data, if you have first booster or third dose, we have a big chance of) protection even when with these subvariants, especially against severe disease,” the vaccine expert said.

The Omicron BA.2.1.2.1 subvariant was responsible for the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in the United States while the B.4 and B.5 subvariants have caused spikes in South Africa.

Current COVID-19 vaccines are known to have low effectivity rates against the said subvariants. (GFB)

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