640 more Delta variant cases detected in Phl

Maris Federez   •   September 13, 2021   •   444

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine health authorities have detected 640 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases (85.6%), 28 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases (3.7%), 24 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases (3.2%), and five P.3 variant cases (0.7%) in the latest batch of whole-genome sequencing of 748 samples.

In a press release on Monday, the Department of Health said that 584 of the additional 640 Delta variant cases, were local cases and 52 were returning overseas Filipinos (ROF).  Four cases are currently being verified whether they are local or ROF cases.

Based on the case line list, three cases are still active, 13 cases have died, while 624 cases have been tagged as recovered. Case details are being validated by the regional and local health offices.

The total Delta variant cases are now 2,708, the report said.

Meanwhile, of the additional 24 Alpha variant cases, 23 were local cases and one was a ROF.

Based on the case list, one case died while 23 cases have been tagged as recovered.

The total Alpha variant cases are now 2,448.

On the other hand, the additional 28 Beta variant cases were all local cases. Based on the case list, all have been tagged as recovered.

The total Beta variant cases are now 2,725.

The report further said that five additional P.3 variant cases were all local cases and have been tagged as recovered.

The DOH said these sequenced samples were submitted by 77 laboratories, collecting institutions, and different Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (RESU).

Meanwhile, the UP-PGC also announced that starting September 9 they have scaled down their COVID-19 RT-PCR testing services to shift their resources on the detection of COVID-19 variants through whole-genome sequencing.

The shift will lead to an expected increase in the sequencing capacity and detection of COVID-19 variant cases in the country in the succeeding months.

Sputnik Light, maaari na ibigay na booster dose – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Pinayagan na ng Department of Health (DOH) at ng National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) na magamit na rin bilang booster shot ang single-dose na Sputnik Light na gawa ng bansang Russia.

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, maaaring ibigay ang Sputnik Light bilang booster para sa mga nakakumpleto ng primary vaccine series ng AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, at Sinovac.

Gayunman, hindi ito ipinapayo para sa mga naturukan ng Sinopharm at Janssen maging sa mga nakatanggap ng Sputnik at at Sputnik Light.

Muli namang iginiit ng DOH na ang availability ng booster doses ng COVID-19 vaccines ay depende pa rin sa supply ng mga bakuna.

Samantala, ibinalita rin ni Vergerei na maaari nang makakuha ng booster shot ang mga may primary series ng Sinopharm vaccine.

“Sa mga indibidwal na puro po Sinopharm ang pangunahing bakunang tinanggap, pwede na po kayong kumuha ng inyong booster shots. Nabigyan na po ito ng Emergency Use Authority or EUA ng FDA at guidance from our National vaccine Operations Center,” ayon sa opisyal.

Maaaring homologous o heterologous COVID-19 vaccines ang booster shot ng mga fully vaccinated ng Sinopharm

Nilinaw rin ng DOH na gaya ng Sputnik V, hindi rin maaaring ibigay sa buntis ang Sinopharm dahil hindi kasama sa indication at contraindication ng nasabing bakuna na ligtas itong iturok sa mga nagdadalang-tao.

“Hindi po pwendeng i-booster sa mga buntis at nagpapasusong ina ang Sinopharm at Gamaleya Sputnik,” ani Vergeire.

Muli ting tiniyak ng opisyal na ang lahat ng bakunang ginagamit sa bansa ay sumailalim sa masusing pag- aaral at aprubado ng FDA.

Pagbabakuna sa mga botika sa NCR, pinalawig pa – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Pinalawig pa ng pamahalaan ang pagpapatupad ng programang Resbakuna sa Botika sa National Capital Region (NCR).

Ayon sa Department of Health (DOH), gagawin na rin ang programa sa dalawa pang branch ng Mercury Drug na matatagpuan sa Retiro-Mayon sa Quezon City at sa Bonifacio Global City sa Taguig.

Sa mga nasabing vaccination site, 100 slots kada araw ang inilaan para sa mga nais magpaturok ng boosters.

Tumatanggap ito ng walk-in at kailangan lamang na magprisinta ng valid ID at dalhin ang primary vaccination card.

Ayon kay DOH-NCR Regional Director Dr. Gloria Balboa, may pito pang mga pharmacy sa Metro Manila ang nagsumite ng aplikasyon para maging vaccination sites.

“Actually marami pang application kaya lang kailangan i-assess. Itong expansion hindi lang sa NCR, mayroon rin sa Region 4-A at tsaka Region 3,” ani Balboa.

Samantala, plano naman ng DOH na paikliin ang training ng mga pharmacist na makakatulong sa pagbabakuna.

Mula sa kasalukuyang isang buwan, nais ng DOH na gawin na lamang ito sa loob lamang ng isang linggo upang mapabilis ang proseso at mas marami pang botika ang mahikayat na maging vaccination sites.

“Yun nga kasi actually isang buwan yan e, ‘yan yung training na yan nang Philippine Pharmacy Association but that includes kasi yung iba-ibang bakuna kaya ganun katagal, so since ang concern natin dito COVID kaya pwedeng paiksiin, ayon nga ginawang 1 week,” ani Balboa.

“Because of this nga na kailangan, minomodify, sinoshorten kasi mahabang training yun eh. This time with the Department of Health shortened po iyon at may schedule na po kaya once we have more pharmacist mas madami pa ang mai-involve,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ng DOH na nakahanda na ang mga vaccination sites na gagamitin naman sa pagbabakuna ng mga batang edad lima hanggang 11.

Nakatakdang simulan ang pagbabakuna sa nasabing age group sa Pebrero 4.

Ayon sa DOH, 37 vaccination sites, kabilang na ang tatlong ospital sa NCR, ang gagamitin para sa pilot implementation ng pediatric vaccination.

Muli namang hinimok ng pamahalaan ang publiko, lalo na ang mga magulang o guardian, na makiisa sa nalalapit na pediatric vaccination para sa mga batang may edad 5-11 taong gulang upang mabigyan ng karagdagang proteksyon ang mga menor de edad sa gitna ng patuloy na paglaganap ng iba’t ibang variant ng COVID-19.

Philippines eases quarantine rules for fully vaxxed travelers, returning Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa requiring countries under Executive Order (EO) No. 408, series of 1960 will soon be allowed to enter the Philippines, Malacañang said Friday.

In a press briefing, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that starting February 10, foreign nationals who are holders of passports valid for at least six months at the time of their arrival, and with tickets back to their home countries or next country of destination will be allowed to enter the Philippines.

This policy essentially allows fully vaccinated international visitors traveling for business and tourism purposes as long as they came from countries specified under the EO. The list can be viewed here.

These passengers will also be required to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 recognized under existing IATF regulations, including World Health Organization International Certificates of Vaccination and Prophylaxis, VaxCertPH, and national/state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF.

They shall also observe the existing testing and quarantine protocols in place for fully vaccinated international arriving passengers.

Nograles said children below 18 years of age are exempted from the requirement of full vaccination and providing proof of vaccination status prior to their flights.

Fully vaccinated nationals shall not be included in the arrival quota set by the Department of Transportation and its One-Stop-Shop, he added.

Nograles also announced that starting February 16, only fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed to enter the Philippines.

He, however, clarified that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Filipinos would still be allowed to return home.

“Pagdating sa Feb. 16, absolutely whether EO 408, or whether non-EO 408 or whether ito yung mga foreign nationals na for certain exemptions natin because of their expertise or their technical expertise or knowhow na binibigyan natin ng pahintulot na pumasok, basta absolutely by Feb 16 ang pwede lamang pumasok na foreign nationals ay fully vaccinated po lamang,” he said.

Nograles said this quarantine and testing protocol will be implemented until a new variant of concern emerges.

“Pag-suspend natin ng country classification, red, yellow, and green is temporarily suspended unless we need to bring it back due to and emerging variant of concern that has to be made very clear,” he said.

“This is something that we will continue to monitor. But as of today and as of the moment, we are seeing that it is widely omicron and we are only accepting fully-vaccinated. We are hoping that we could ramp up vaccination for more of our kababayans,” he added.

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