Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Davao City requests booster shots for health workers amid surge

Photo by Mark Perandos

WITH the continuous rise of Covid-19 cases in Davao City, the City Government requested the Department of Health-Davao Region (DOH-Davao) to allow the inoculation of Covid-19 booster shots for health workers.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in a radio interview on Monday, September 20, 2021, that this was discussed during the Covid-19 Task Force meeting on the same day.

This after some private hospitals are experiencing a shortage of staff after several doctors and nurses were infected with Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing the Covid-19.

The mayor said they already passed a resolution regarding their request for the rollout of booster shots for health workers.

"Nagpasa ta og (We passed a) resolution seeking permission in requesting that approval from DOH 11 (Davao Region) nga mag-booster shots sa atoang (to allow booster shots to our) healthcare workers inside hospitals," Duterte-Carpio said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

DOH-Davao has not yet issued any statement in response to the city government's resolution.

However, Chief of the DOH-Davao Local Health Support Division Dr. Raquel Montejo said in a previous virtual presser that booster shots of any Covid-19 vaccine are still not recommended.

Montejo said all Covid-19 vaccines were issued an Emergency Utilization Authority (EUA), which means all are still ongoing their Phase 3 clinical trials.

"Mayroon pang ginagawang (We are currently having a) long-term follow-up studies and the participants are still being monitored for two to three years. This means that we have yet to generate a complete clinical trial result," Montejo said.

This led her to say and reiterate the statement of the DOH that booster shots are not yet recommended.

"We still need to vaccinate more people and there is no data that shows that boosters are needed," he said.

In a public advisory released on August 21, the DOH clarified information regarding the length of protection that Covid-19 vaccines offer, based on a media interview of one of the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) members, which has been taken out of context.

The advisory cited that "contrary to the circulating posts," Dr. Nina Gloriani did not mention how long antibodies from vaccines last, but of when antibodies start to decrease based on follow-up from participants in the clinical trials.

The DOH emphasized that while booster shots are not yet recommended in the country, the government needs to continuously prioritize those belonging to the high-risk groups, including the senior citizens and persons with underlying conditions, to maximize the gains of the current vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, Duterte-Carpio revealed that the lack of healthcare workers due to outbreaks in hospitals has been a problem since the pandemic started in 2020.

"The problem of lack of healthcare workers, wala na po na siya'y solusyon (there is no more solution for that). That has been a blank wall since last year dinha sa atong mga (in our) hospitals. There is really a kakulangan sa mga (shortage of) healthcare workers, and there is a severe shortage because of outbreaks in hospitals," she said.


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