Just nearly half of fully vaccinated health care workers have received their coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) booster shots, a health official said Friday.
The government has already achieved 95 percent of its target health care workers for the primary series.
Of the 2.9 million health care workers who are fully inoculated, only 1.3 million have received booster shots based on the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard data.
“Dito sa booster doses (With the booster doses), we only have an accomplishment of 49.07 percent,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during an online media forum.
Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member Anna Ong-Lim said the low booster rate among health care workers could be attributed to the decrease in new cases, which is the “enemy of any successful vaccination program”.
“It’s actually a phenomenon observed across different (types of) vaccines kapag nababawasan ang dami ng kaso, syempre nagiging kampante ang mga tao. Bumaba ang update ng mga bakuna at dahil dumadami ang pools of susceptibles, tumataas na naman ang kaso (when cases go down, people are complacent. Vaccine update goes down and then cases go up because the pools of susceptibles increase). It’s really human nature,” she said.
Lim urged health care workers to take advantage of the lull or downtrend in the number of new cases to add another layer to their protection against Covid-19.
“Magpa-booster na tayo dahil hindi pa naman nawawala ‘yung sakit na ito (Let’s get our booster shots because Covid-19 is still here),” she said.
Overall, about 67 million Filipinos have the complete primary series of Covid-19 jabs but only 12.97 million have availed of booster shots.
The rollout of the fourth dose or the second booster shot for the immuno-compromised aged 18 years and above who received their initial booster shot at least three months ago will begin on April 25.
Medical front-liners and the elderly will get their additional booster shots next.