THE national government will start the rollout of booster shots against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) for all fully vaccinated adults on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
Individuals who were fully vaccinated with Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Sputnik V may receive booster shots at least six months after their first dose.
“Those who have completed their primary series of Covid-19 vaccines can be inoculated with the following brands regardless of which vaccines are taken in the first two doses,” the DOH said.
Those who received the single-shot regimen Janssen vaccines may receive their booster doses after three months.
Based on the heterologous booster guideline issued by the DOH, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna may serve as booster doses for Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen and Sputnik V primary series.
As of Dec. 1, a total of 89,070,292 Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, with 51,811,422 as first dose.
A total of 36,869,419 have been fully vaccinated while 389,451 received booster shots.
Meanwhile, Visayas Vaccination Operations Center (VVOC) spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche assured that all vaccines remain safe to use amid reports of vaccinees demanding to see the label of their Pfizer doses.
“We assure the public that we will never use expired vaccines,” Loreche said.
The labels had Nov. 30, 2021 as their expiry date but Loreche, citing advice from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), clarified that the FDA has approved an amendment to the emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech extending the expiration dates of their Covid-19 vaccine from six to nine months.
This means that vaccines with a printed expiry date of November 2021 have an updated expiry date of February 2022.
For Pfizer vaccines with a printed expiry date of December 2021, their updated expiry date is already March 2022.
For vaccines that are supposed to expire in January 2022, their updated expiry date is April 2022; while February 2022 is -the new date of expiration for those marked May 2022.
“Everybody got scared because they really thought that the vaccine administered to them had expired. Let me assure everyone that we didn’t release expired vaccines. If the expiry date is November 30, we gave that on the same day before midnight, before December 1,” Loreche also said.
Loreche said the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine needs to be stored in a cold chain facility with a temperature of negative 75 to negative 90 degrees centigrade or ultra low freezers.
She said these temperature requirements were achieved by the region’s ultra-low freezers. / SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES