The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said it had yet to find evidence that inoculating people with a third Covid-19 dose was necessary for the general public.
WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the use of booster shots was only justifiable for immunocompromised individuals.
“Really, we don’t have the evidence that people who have already received two vaccine doses of WHO-EUL (emergency use listing) granted vaccines require a third dose,” he said in a Laging Handa briefing.
“The evidence we have, looking very closely, is that all WHO-EUL listed vaccines still are effective in preventing severe disease and death. And the only exception to this is when those two doses have not been able to generate the required immunity because certain people have immunocompromised situations in their bodies, and those people may require a third dose,” he added.
Abeyasinghe said immunocompromised people include the elderly and those with immune system problems.
He added that the WHO was looking for “better evidence” that supports the usability of booster shots.
“But in the interim, our current position is that since the vaccines are effective in preventing severe disease and death that it is more important to address the global inequity in access to vaccines,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said that the Philippines had yet to approve the use of booster shots, even for health workers or those in the A1 priority group.
“Wala pa pong desisyon na magkaroon ng Covid-19 booster shots para sa mga healthcare workers. Mayroon lang pong rekomendasyon pa lang ang vaccine expert panel,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
The recommendation, he said, was up for review.
“Wala pa pong desisyon ang IATF,” Roque said.
The Philippines has nearly 17 million fully vaccinated individuals. John Ezekiel J. Hirro