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COVID-19 booster shots in PH: What you need to know

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine government is rolling out COVID-19 booster shots for all adults over 18 years old to increase their protection against the coronavirus disease and emerging variants.

CNN Philippines answers your questions about booster shots, when you can receive them, their benefits, and where they stand against the Omicron variant.

What is a booster shot and who can get it?

Booster shots are given to those whose immunity is decreasing over time after completing their COVID-19 vaccination.

They are given to fully vaccinated adults over 18 years old three months after completing a two-dose vaccine and two months after taking a single dose vaccine. The interval between the primary series and booster was shortened by the Food and Drug Administration beginning Dec. 22 amid the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, which rapidly became the most dominant variant in the United States 20 days after its detection.

Healthcare workers who received their primary doses abroad can also get their booster shots in the Philippines.

A person can only receive one booster shot.

It is purely voluntary but highly encouraged by health experts amid the detection of new coronavirus variants. Senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals are urged to get it as early as possible since the protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines wane faster in vulnerable sectors.

Those below 18 years old are not yet allowed to get booster shots.

What vaccine should I get?

The Department of Health has approved administering a single dose of Pfizer, Sinovac, and AstraZeneca, and half the regular dose of a Moderna shot as booster.

It shall be given at least three months after receiving Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, Sputnik V, and AstraZeneca as a first series, or two months after the single-shot Janssen.

Am I getting the same vaccine brand or a different one?

The DOH said one can opt to use the same vaccine brand (homologous vaccine) or a different one (heterologous vaccine) from the initial series received.

However, those who got Sputnik V and Janssen as their first series cannot receive the same brand as their booster for now. This is because there is not enough supply of Sputnik V vaccine and Janssen has yet to apply for an amendment to its emergency use authorization to include booster shots in its regimen, officials said.

Which vaccine brands can I mix? Is it safe?

If the vaccinee opts to get a different brand as their booster, they may receive the following combination:

– Sinovac: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna

– AstraZeneca: Pfizer, Moderna

– Sputnik V: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna

– Janssen: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna

– Pfizer: AstraZeneca, Moderna

– Moderna: AstraZeneca, Pfizer

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