On Tuesday, March 22, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that it currently awaits FDA clearance to alter the emergency use authorization (EUA) of COVID-19 vaccinations to include the fourth dose for the senior and immuno-compromised.
The administration of the fourth dosage of COVID-19 vaccines for the said vulnerable populations had already been approved by the country’s Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP), according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire at a news conference.
“Hinihintay na lang po natin. Nag submit na po ang DOH ng application sa FDA para sa amendment ng EUA para sa 4th dose (We’re just waiting for the approval. The DOH already submitted an application to the FDA for the amendment of EUA to include a fourth dose.) We will wait for the decision of FDA on this, and then we will discuss its possible implementation,” Vergeire said.
VEP member Dr. Rontgene Solante previously stated that a fourth dose or second booster may be required solely by the elderly and immuno-compromised, but not by the general public.
Dr. Edsel Salvana, a member of the DOH-Technical Advisory Group, noted in the same session that the proof regarding the necessity for a fourth dose is preliminary.
Currently, the EUA for COVID-19 vaccines in the country solely allows for the administration of primary doses and booster doses to the general public, as well as third shots to the elderly and immuno-compromised who have not gained sufficient protection despite their original immunization.
If the Department of Health receives FDA clearance, the Philippines will join a group of countries that have begun delivering a fourth dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine to their populations, including the United States and Israel.
More than 65 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated, with 70.4 million receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 11.6 million receiving booster doses. – WhatALife!