Yes, COVID-19 Booster is necessary. Boosters can protect individuals from severe diseases and death caused by COVID-19. Getting the COVID-19 boosters helps optimize our antibody levels, the T-cells and the memory B cells. Thus, optimizing the body’s immune protection of the highest risk populations such as the seniors and those with comorbidities. These components play an important role in building immune responses against viruses.
The COVID-19 booster shots that are being endorsed are Pfizer, the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson booster doses are exactly the same as the primary doses. It is recommended that those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson must get a booster shot two months after receiving the first shot. Meanwhile, the Moderna comes as a half booster, consisting of 50 micrograms, that is administered for a primary series dose of Johnson & Johnson. The immunocompromised individuals are recommended to get a full dose (100 micrograms) of the Moderna shot as a booster. Pfizer booster can be taken at least two months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson primary vaccination.
The Heterologous Method
Did you know that the updated vaccine effectiveness of Johnson & Johnson against hospitalization is only 71 percent? In comparison, the Moderna vaccine has (93 percent) and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (88 percent). The World Health Organization (WHO) had advised that priorities must be given to those immune-compromised individuals who have waning immunity from COVID-19. Study shows that those who die of the COVID-19 are actually unvaccinated. The purpose of the mix-and-match approach offer the flexibility to choose additional COVID-19 protection that is different from their primary series. “Heterologous” is the clinical term for mixing and matching vaccines. The heterologous method also offers great flexibility to some vaccine providers, pharmacies and local health departments. This empowers people to choose based on their preferences and medical circumstances.
It is recommended that even though the person can choose a COVID-19 booster shot that is different from their original shot, he or she must stick with the first vaccine brand if it is available. On the contrary, some experts say that if everybody needs to match the exact brand, and every provider had to carry all three brands of the vaccine, it would delay the process and booster rollouts. This will jeopardize the Filipinos who have less access to care to begin with.
COVID-19 Boosters for Filipinos
In the Philippines, the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) made a recommendation to the Department of Health to give booster shots and third doses against COVID-19 for priority groups. The first groups include healthcare worker, seniors and “eligible priority groups”. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has approved this HTAC recommendation on 24 October 2021. This approval comes with the condition that there is sufficient vaccine supply and inoculation targets are reached. At present, there are still approximately 29.34 million Filipinos who are waiting in line for the second vaccination.
The COVID-19 boosters still need emergency use authorization (EUA). Filipinos should expect that the side effects of the booster shots are similar to those from the primary series of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna. The most common symptoms from the booster shots are fatigue and pain at the injection site. Most booster side-effects are mild to moderate.
COVID-19 boosters are expected to roll out before this year ends or during the first quarter of 2022 at the very least. The necessity of getting the COVID-19 boosters supports the readiness of every person to get used to living with COVID-19 virus. Prevention is better than cure, after all. Maintaining the good health and practicing good hygiene must still be practiced, whether the person can get the booster immediately or not. If all else fail, remember that supportive doctors are within your reach through the MyPocketDoctor App. The MyPocketDoctor website and mobile app (Android and IOS) have Multi-factor security to guard your medical information better. This telemedicine service, other than providing you with online medical consultation, has also been actively providing you with valuable health information to guide you during these unique times. You can easily obtain these conveniences right at your fingertips by downloading the MyPocketDoctor app and talking to our team of doctors about your health concerns. The MyPocketDoctor can also be contacted through its Facebook page and/or agent chat on the website www.MyPocketDoctor.com. You may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this website.