Slow PH booster intake, expiry of Covid-19 vaccines ‘not encouraging’ – Concepcion – Manila Bulletin

Presidential Entrepreneurship Advisor Joey Concepcion is sounding the alarm over the Philippines’ slow uptake of the recall and the upcoming expiration of Covid-19 vaccines in the country’s inventory.

Joey Concepcion, Presidential Advisor for Entrepreneurship and Founder of Go Negosyo (PTV-4 screenshot)

Concepcion made the statement following reports that only 13% of the target population received their booster shots.

Data from the National Immunization Operations Center showed that only 30% of the target population received their boosters, even in Metro Manila. In provinces with full immunization rates of 75% or more, such as those in the Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions 1, 2, and 3, boosters are only between 11 and 16%.

“These are not encouraging numbers,” he said.

Concepcion said the slow uptake of boosters is alarming for many reasons, the main one being that millions of Filipinos will soon be late for their booster shots. This is despite the abundant supply of vaccines and their immediate availability thanks to private sector efforts and government vaccination campaigns.

“While we’re still fine right now, we can’t be sure about the second half of the year when antibodies will decline for almost everyone,” he said.

“Vaccines currently in stock in the country are also expected to expire by June. Beyond this point, where will vaccines be found to combat waning immunity? Vaccines are available here, right now, and we encourage the public to take them while they still can,” he added.

While it was first suggested that protection wanes after five months for most vaccines, the Food and Drug Administration has shortened the interval between the end of primary doses and the booster to three months. The Health Ministry gave the green light to the recalls last December when nearly 38 million Filipinos had already received their second dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Philippine government’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) recommends an extra dose or fourth dose for immunocompromised and elderly people. The VEP had said that the effectiveness of the third injection (or the first booster dose) decreased over time in these people, but not as much in healthy people.

“You’re never fully vaccinated unless you’ve been vaccinated,” the Go Negosyo founder said, citing the consensus among experts that antibodies to Covid decline over time.

“A booster injection will provide additional protection against serious illness, infection and death from Covid, and protection against its emerging variants,” he added.

Meanwhile, Concepcion suggested redefining “fully vaccinated” as people who have received a booster dose and that vaccination cards should now have an expiration date and be replaced with booster cards.

In Singapore, the validity of a person’s fully vaccinated status is set at 270 days after the last dose of the primary vaccination; it is extended after receiving a booster injection. The action was taken on the recommendation of the Singapore Vaccine Expert Committee.

“We have to do it now and deal with a possible increase in cases, so as not to slow down the reopening of the economy,” Concepcion said.

“I cannot stress enough the urgency of bringing back the vibrancy of our economy, and that depends on the integrity of our immunity wall, and our immunity wall is only as strong as the effectiveness of our vaccinations. “, he added.

Despite this, Concepcion expressed hope that widespread booster vaccinations will eventually lead to the lifting of the state of public health emergency in the country.

“While Alert Level 1 has helped move us to a much better place, we should start to aspire to a downgraded Alert Level. We can only do that if we maintain our immunity wall, and for To do this, people have to take their boosters, ”he said.



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