The Department of Health (DOH) is hoping to have bivalent vaccines available by the first quarter of 2023.
The DOH said it is already coordinating with the suppliers for the second-generation COVID-19 vaccines, or bivalent vaccines, that protect individuals from the Omicron variant.
“As for the DOH, we are already coordinating with suppliers for the procurement of bivalent vaccines. We are targeting to have vaccines available by Q1 of 2023. We are also coordinating with potential donors of COVID-19 bivalent vaccines,” the department said in a statement.
The DOH said the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination by completing the primary series and a booster dose.
“It is also important to note that bivalent mRNA vaccines are not authorized or approved at this time for primary series doses,” it added.
DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said they were still in the process of negotiating with vaccine manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer regarding the procurement of the bivalent vaccines.
Vergeire also said that Moderna had already submitted their complete dossier or vaccine documents to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Some 3,691,412 eligible Filipinos received second boosters as of December 12, according to government data.
The DOH has provided second boosters to 603,905 individuals in the A1 population or among healthcare workers.
Out of the 1,196,107 healthcare workers, 592,202 are due for second booster doses.
“[The] DOH reiterates that vaccination is not mandatory, and that consent must always be asked. Current evidence only shows that 2nd boosters are only recommended for A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), A3 (persons with comorbidities) aged 18 and above,” it added.
Meanwhile, the recorded new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may go as high as 1,200 on Sunday, independent monitoring OCTA Research Group said.
In a tweet on Saturday night, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said the new infections on Sunday may range from 1,000 to 1,200.
The statement was made after the Department of Health (DOH) logged 1,196 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the active caseload down to 18,262.
David said that the nationwide positivity rate — or the percentage of people who were found positive for COVID-19 among the total number of individuals tested — was at 12.5 percent.
DOH’s latest data showed that the National Capital Region recorded the highest number of new infections in the past two weeks with 5,945 cases.
Next was Calabarzon with 2,498; Central Luzon with 1,222; Cagayan Valley with 716; and Western Visayas with 706.