January 26, 2022
MANILA — Individuals who want to get extra protection against COVID-19, especially against the highly infectious Omicron variant, should only get one booster shot for now, as opposed to getting a fourth vaccine dose, an infectious disease expert said Tuesday.
Dr. Rontgene Solante said there is no sufficient data yet on booster shots given every three months or every six months, whether it would be beneficial or detrimental to the immune system.
“At this point in time, isang booster lang muna ang tatanggapin natin because there are no data na ang booster binibigay every three months or every six months,” he said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
(At this point in time, we should only get one booster dose because there are no data that the booster will be given every three months or every six months.)
“So, hindi natin alam kung ano ang maidudulot nito sa ating immune response,” he added.
(So we don’t know what this would do to our immune response.)
He made the remark in light of the statement of the Israel’s Health Ministry saying a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine given to people over 60 in Israel made them three times more resistant to serious illness than thrice-vaccinated people in the same age group.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has also said a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies fivefold a week after the shot is administered.
For now, Solante said, what is sure and is supported by data is that getting a booster dose on top of the primary vaccine series gives an additional protection against COVID-19 infection, by increasing antibodies.
“Noong nagbakuna tayo ng booster shot, tumataas ulit yung neutralizing antibodies na mas mataas pa doon sa primary vaccine series. At ito ay nagdulot ng karagdagang protektsyon, especially for Omicron variant,” Solante said.
(When we get a booster shot, antibodies increase more than those obtained during the primary vaccine series. This provides additional protection, especially against the Omicron variant.)
“Malaki ang proteksyon natin, hindi lang sa makakuha ng Omicron variant but most especially against severe and death of COVID-19 infection,” he added.
(We have a stronger protection, not only against Omicron variant transmission, but most especially against severe symptoms and death from COVID-19 infection.)