DOH cuts COVID-19 booster shot interval to three months

December 22, 2021 - 8:38 AM
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A healthworker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for protection against the coronavirus disease at a cinema turned into a temporary vaccination site in San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 15, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez/File Photo)

MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday halved the wait time for a COVID-19 vaccine booster to three months to help prevent the spread of the more infectious Omicron variant.

A growing list of countries, including South Korea, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Germany, are shortening the interval for boosters to try to stave off a new surge in infections.

Adults can receive a booster dose at least three months after the second shot of a two-dose vaccine, cutting the six-month gap. Recipients of a single-dose vaccine can get a booster shot after two months, the health ministry said.

“We are exploring all possible options to safely mitigate the effects of more transmissible variants of COVID-19,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement.

The Southeast Asian nation has detected three imported cases of Omicron variant.

The Philippines has received more than 192 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and fully inoculated roughly 44.2 million of its 110 million population, government data show.

In November, the government started the rollout of booster doses for healthcare workers and the elderly.

COVID-19 cases have fallen to an average of 378 a day in December from the peak of 18,579 daily in September. —Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Mark Potter