The Philippines is eyeing to roll out COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for health workers and a third dose for senior citizens and those with weakened immune systems by Nov. 15, immunization czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said as more jabs become available in the country.
Guidelines for booster shots and the third dose rollout are expected to be released on Friday, Nov. 5, according to Galvez.
"Ang ating target project implementation ay Nov. 15 pero maghihintay po tayo ng ating guidance from the policy team," Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte in a late night meeting Tuesday but aired Wednesday.
Once the guidelines are released, Galvez said the government would start giving out booster shots to 1.5 million fully vaccinated health workers, and a third dose to some four million senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals.
A third COVID-19 vaccine dose is different from a booster shot according to the World Health Organization.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the WHO representative to the Philippines, said a third dose is another shot of vaccine for those who are immunocompromised since they cannot sustain the immunity developed from the two doses.
Booster shots however are given to boost the immunity of fully vaccinated individuals.
So far, the Philippines has fully vaccinated some 26 million people against an initial target of 50 million before Christmas.