The waiting time in between the second COVID vaccine dose and the booster could be halved to three to four months from six to speed up the rollout of jabs given the threat of the Omicron variant, the country's immunization czar said Monday.
The Philippines has 62 million vaccine doses in its stockpile and 52 million more expected to arrive, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said. The have to be used before they expire, he said.
"We will consult the experts on how to do about this possible expansion of the boostering to three to four months instead of six months," he told reporters during a vaccination site visit in Cavite.
The Department of Health said earlier that individuals aged 18 and above who have been fully vaccinated for over six months are eligible to receive boosters. Those who were given the single-dose Janssen vaccine need to wait three months only before getting their booster.
Shorter gaps between shots can "vastly improve" Filipinos' defenses against Omicron, he said.
The Philippines has fully vaccinated 39.5 million Filipinos as of Dec. 10, according to the National Vaccination Operation Center (NVOC). Authorities seek to fully vaccinate seven million Filipinos during the second round of the National Vaccination Days, scheduled from Dec. 15 to 17.