Here are the things you need to know with regards the Covid Vaccine Booster shot and the reasons on why we should get it.
It was a bright and sunny March afternoon. There was already news circulating about the mysterious virus that was spreading throughout the province of Wuhan, China. Here in our country, our government was taking some preventive measures in order to prevent the spread of the virus, while suddenly, the first-ever case was reported here in Metro Manila. Mayor Isko ordered a one-week suspension of classes to adhere to the emergency situation regarding the number of cases. What everyone thought of as a one-week break turned into weeks, months, and now we are two years and counting into the pandemic. Luckily, a year ago, many companies tried their very best to find a cure to the severe illness caused by the virus that has killed many lives and became the cause of unemployment to many people. The first-ever Covid-19 Vaccine and was the first to be granted with emergency use from the World Health Organization was the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech. They were the leading company to create and obtain positive results from their clinical trials. After that, the vaccines from Sinovac, Moderna, Astazenica were also granted the EUA further to aid the need for vaccines around the world.
On March 29, 2021, the Philippines finally received its first tranch of Covid-19 Vaccines procured by our government from SINOVAC. Weeks later came the second tranch from AstraZeneca and Pfizer BioNTech. Healthcare workers were the top priority since they were the frontliners in this battle against an unseen enemy. As time went by, vaccines were donated by the COVAX Facility by the WHO; and this became the start of the mass vaccination as part of the mandate of our government and their efforts to defeat Covid-19. As of November 3, 2021, with all these available vaccines in the Philippines, 28 Million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated and doing their part in helping our medical frontliners.
Recently, the DOH approved the recommendations from the Health Technology Assessment Council that they start giving third doses or “Booster Shots” and will soon issue the guidelines to the Medical Frontliners, Senior Citizens, and immunocompromised individuals as their protection from the virus decrease overtime. But first, let us know what is a “Booster Shot” and are we required to take it?
What are these Booster Shots?
Booster Shoots are the third dose of Covid-19 Vaccines that will maintain or somehow “Boost” your level of immunity from the virus. This will be of great help, especially to the ones who were vaccinated earlier this year, because as time goes by, the level of immunity that we get from the vaccines decreases. That is why a third/booster dose or a “Booster Shot” is needed.
Now, who are the priority groups? As mentioned, guidelines will be issued by the Department of Health regarding the roll-out of booster shots to groups A1-A3 or medical front liners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities as they are the ones who are vulnerable to the severe disease. DOH Secretary Fransisco Duque, with the recommendation of HTAC, said that these priority groups should be administered with their third dose by the end of 2021 to further protect them from the threat of the virus. Studies show that vaccine effectiveness will prevent you from having severe symptoms; that is why it is essential to keep the immunity at par to avoid the worst-case scenario.
The HTAC has recommended a strategy on how the booster doses rollout should go; they created a list on what are the covid 19 vaccines for the third dose. HTAC suggests that people who are vaccinated with Pfizer BioNTech, Janssen single booster dose, and Moderna have a homologous series or be immunized with the same brand. While persons who are vaccinated with AstraZeneca are advised to have a booster shot from Pfizer BioNTech, according to the studies made that prove to mix these two vaccines will result in a much higher immunity compared to having two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine. On the other hand, Sinovac vaccinated persons are suggested to have the Pfizer BioNTech as their booster shot. Here is a table that will sum up the strategy.
|Initial Vaccine Series||Recommended Booster Shot||Strategy|
|Pfizer BioNTech||Pfizer BioNTech||Homologous|
|AstraZeneca||Preferred: Pfizer BioNTech AstraZeneca||Heterologous|
|Coronavac||Preferred: Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca Coronavac||Heterologous|
Now with these being said, here are some things you should remember if you are qualified for the first rollout of booster shots.
1. Vaccination Card
This is one of the most important documents that you should have. This will certify that you have completed your initial Covid-19 Vaccine shots and is ready for the booster shot. If you are a Medical Frontliner, Senior Citizen, and a person with comorbidity, you are the first one who will be given the third dose. Don’t forget to bring your vaccination cards with you when it is your vaccination appointment to get that additional dose of immunization!
2. Advise your Doctor
For our elderly and immunocompromised citizens, it is best to consult your doctor first before getting the booster shot for you to be prepared for some unexpected side effects. Especially for those who will be given a different type of vaccine, consulting your doctor is a must as they will help you prepare and explain the possible side effects of that ceratin vaccine.
3. Safety Protocols
Of course, we haven’t beaten our enemy yet, and we are just starting to combat this. that is why we should always practice the safety protocols given to us by the World Health Organization. We are still not safe from the threat of the virus; practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face should still be practiced. We’ve learned how important it is to be clean and hygienic as it will save us from getting the virus.
As we continue our lives under the threat of Covid-19, we can still learn a lot from this pandemic that will indeed be a lesson to each and every one of us. We are still lucky enough that Covid-19 Vaccines are continuously coming into our country. That is why one of the pleads of the medical front-liners is to get vaccinated if given a chance to boost your immune response and disease control. Because this will not only protect you but will also protect them and will help in containing the virus. As a third-world country, we are also lucky to be given enough vaccine supplies coming from the COVAX Facility, and we should also take this opportunity to encourage our fellow countrymen to do their part in the fight against Covid-19.
Read Also: Vaccination Among Children Aged 5 -11
As of today, the number of cases is continuing to decrease. And one of the main contributors to this result is the number of vaccinated people in the country that is equivalent to 28%, and even though it may seem that we are slowly defeating our enemy, we shouldn’t be lowering our guards because the enemy is still here, present, and living together with us. Our government’s target is to have a “herd immunity” that will cover 70% of the overall population including teens that should get vaccinated. With the current rate, we hope to achieve this in the first quarter of 2022. That is why we should get vaccinated when we have the opportunity and take the third dose or the booster shot if it is our turn. Let’s continue to win over this pandemic so that we can finally take our masks off and bring back the smiles onto our faces.