No evidence yet COVID-19 vaccine boosters needed, expert says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 25) — A member of the country's vaccine expert panel said they are not yet recommending the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots as there is still no data to suggest these are needed.

Dr. Rontgene Solante said the focus now should be vaccinating as many Filipinos as possible right away.

"Sa ngayon kasi, ang recommendation on boosting especially with current vaccines hindi pa natin nirecommend yan. Why? because there is no data yet na nagsasabi na we need the boosting," Solante told an online media briefing on Friday.

[Translation: For now, we are not recommending boosting especially with current vaccines. Why? Because there is no data yet saying we need the boosting.]

This could change once it has been established that variants can make the currently available vaccines less effective, he said.

Solante added that the country may need boosters when it still sees a surge in COVID-19 cases even if majority of its population has already been vaccinated.

He explained the spikes in infections - despite high inoculation rates - mean the vaccines are not that effective against variants. 

The Department of Science Technology's study on the mixing and matching of COVID-19 vaccine brands will also test boosters, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara earlier said.