Specialists explore possible 4th COVID-19 dose

By Julia Marie Mangmang

With the Philippines continuing its rollout of the COVID-19 booster shots, experts around the world have started to look into recommending the administration of fourth doses to vulnerable citizens in the coming months. 

Recently, the Public Health Agency of Sweden deemed citizens older than 80 years of age eligible for the second booster shot. 

Back in December 2021, Israel announced that they were beginning to give second booster shots to the elderly, medical workers, and immunocompromised who have received their third jab at least four months earlier.

With that, the United States of America have begun to study emerging data showing that the effectiveness of booster shots wear off after four months, therefore requiring another jab. 

Despite this, infectious disease specialist and Department of Health-Technical Advisory Group member Doctor Edsel Salvaña believes that the country should delay getting the fourth dose, emphasizing that the Philippines must first focus on getting the majority of the population fully vaccinated. 

Should there be a rollout of the fourth dose, Salvaña noted that just like in the previous rounds, healthcare workers and senior citizens will be prioritized. 

As of February 17, 2022, about 62.2 million Filipinos or 56.8% of the population are fully vaccinated, 13.2% away from the country’s goal of immunizing 70% of the country to achieve herd immunity.

References:

Crisostomo, S. (2022, February 18). DOH-TAG says 4th dose not yet on horizon. Philippine Star. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/02/19/2161763/doh-tag-says-4th-dose-not-yet-horizon

Howard, J. (2022, February 20). A fourth COVID-19 shot might be recommended this fall, as officials ‘continually’ look at emerging data. CNN Philippines. https://www.cnnphilippines.com/world/2022/2/20/fourth-covid-shot-recommended.html

Philippines: COVID-19 vaccine rollout 2022. (2022, February 18). Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1236727/philippines-coronavirus-covid19-vaccine-rollout/