DOH eyes redefining ‘fully vaccinated’ to include first booster shot

The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, 10 August expressed its intent to revive the proposal to redefine the term “fully vaccinated” to include those who have received their first Covid-19 booster shot.

“We are now proposing again. We will propose again to the Office of the Philippines that our fully vaccinated definition be refined, that we will now include the first booster shot,” DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a television interview. 

Vergeire said that the DOH had already proposed the plan to the previous administration, however, it was not implemented to give way for the reopening of the economy battered by the pandemic. 

“We are proposing again because we have proposed this before to the previous administration but because our economy was just starting to open then, we were asked to hold it first so that it cannot affect the opening of the economy,” she said. 

The proposal to redefine the term “fully vaccinated” was originally suggested by former Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion in a bid to increase the booster uptake in the country.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the agency is still finalizing the inventory of Covid-19 vaccine supplies in the country. 

The DOH is set to have an organizational meeting and briefing with the Senate Committee on Health led by its chair, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday. 

Among the issues that they will tackle are Covid-19 update, vaccine wastage, monkeypox, and other health-related matters.

Earlier, DOH announced that all expired Covid-19 vaccines will be replaced by the COVAX facility, including those procured by the private sector.

However, Vergeire noted that the replacement of expired Covid-19 vaccines will not be delivered immediately. 

“There will be scheduled days of replacement because we are scheduling these replacements at the time we need it,” she said. 

“Right now, we still have sufficient vaccines. The replacement will be delivered when the supplies deplete,” she added. 

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