Govt mulls providing booster shot 3 months after 2nd vaccine dose

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 10) — The government is studying the possibility of administering COVID-19 booster shots at least three months after the second dose, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday.

During an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, Duque floated this possible approach to further boost Filipinos' protection against the virus amid the looming threat of the new variant Omicron.

"We are looking at advancing the booster jabs, maybe three months after, if the response is truly much higher in terms of antibody levels," he said.

"We are looking into it — what would be the comparative advantage of giving earlier booster shots... What if we give it after three months of the second dose? Will that confer much higher level of protection?" Duque added.

Vaccine Experts Panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante noted there are studies on booster shots given within 3-4 months that had "good" results, but the "more compelling data now is the six months and above."

"But we will review the data — which specific vaccines can be administered less than six months or earlier na maganda ang antibody level kumpara sa six months (that have better antibody levels) — then we may adopt that," he said.

Amid the continuous supply of fresh vaccines, the government on Dec. 3 started providing booster shots to all fully vaccinated adults.

The administration of the additional doses was initially offered only to priority groups — health workers, senior citizens, and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Boosters are given at least six months following the second COVID-19 shot of any of the vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V.

Boosters are given at least six months following the second COVID-19 shot of any of the vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Sputnik V.

Filipinos who received the single-shot Janssen vaccine, meanwhile, may get their additional doses three months after their shots.

Duque earlier said eligible recipients may choose a homologous booster, or the same vaccine brand as their two primary doses, or a heterologous or a different one.

CNN Philippines' Currie Cator contributed to this report.