Adults urged to get vaccinated

UNTV News   •   February 8, 2017   •   2997

A nurse displays a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis whooping cough vaccine at a free medical and dental health clinic in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters Health) – Too many U.S. adults are not getting vaccinated, putting themselves and others at risk, immunization experts say.

According to the latest available data, about 44 percent of adults over age 19 had a flu shot; 20 percent had a Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis; and 20 percent of 19-to-64-year-olds at risk of pneumonia had that vaccine (compared to 60 percent of those over 65).

Just 27 percent of those over age 60 were vaccinated against herpes zoster, which cuts the risk of shingles in half, according to new guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Vaccinations not only protect you. They also protect those around you,” ACIP liaison Dr. Sandra Fryhofer said by email, yet, “vaccination coverage rates for adults are abysmal.”

Fryhofer, an Atlanta physician and adjunct associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine, also pointed to racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination rates, with whites more likely than all other groups to be vaccinated. And she noted that adults with health insurance are two to five times more likely to be appropriately vaccinated.

“It’s a double whammy for those without insurance. They don’t have insurance coverage if they get sick and they don’t have insurance coverage to pay for vaccinations that can help them stay well,” said Fryhofer, who was also a member of the working group that came up with the new guidelines.

Dr. Walter Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, called adult vaccine uptake “disappointing” and said it is substantially below the rates achieved for most recommended vaccines for young children.

“All adults should be vaccinated against influenza annually, receive a booster of a tetanus vaccine every 10 years, two different types of pneumococcal vaccine when they turn 65, and a vaccine to prevent shingles when they reach age 60,” Orenstein said by email.

If you weren’t vaccinated as a child, you may need additional vaccines, added Orenstein, who was not involved in the guidelines. “All pregnant women should receive influenza vaccine, which protects them and their newborns, as well as a dose of a vaccine that protects their newborns against whooping cough,” he said.

Some of the important changes made in the 2017 guidelines, according to Fryhofer and Orenstein, include the recommendation that everyone aged 6 months and older should still be vaccinated against flu, even this late in the season, but should not use the nasal vaccine, which has been found not to work very well.

Another new guidance says that young people vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV) before age 15 need only two vaccine doses, not three, given at least five months apart. If you’re 15 or older and haven’t been vaccinated before, you still need three doses.

People with liver disease should get the hepatitis B vaccine, which also protects against liver cancer. And those with HIV need two doses of a meningococcal vaccine, and doctors should use the same vaccine for all doses.

How well an individual responds to a vaccine – whether or not it works – depends on the health of their immune system, Fryhofer said. “The very young, the old, or anyone with a weakened immune system – including pregnant women – don’t respond as well,” she noted.

“Healthy people are more likely to make the most protective antibodies, and that’s another reason why it’s important for them to get vaccinated. They need to stay protected so they won’t spread infection to others who are not so healthy and could die if they get sick,” she added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccinations for Adults web page (bit.ly/2fzDu1A) can help you determine which vaccines you need, Orenstein said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2kihPJM Annals of Internal Medicine, online February 7, 2017.

WHO solidarity trial in PH to begin in December—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2020

The solidarity trial of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines and other countries will begin in December.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 150 to 200 will participate in the trial in 12 sites in the country.

Sa November kasi parang maguumpisa sa isang site and mag-follow na po iyong iba’t ibang clinical trials in the other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020 (The trial will begin in November in one site and it will be followed by other clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020), she said.

The Health Department also announced Interferon will no longer be a part of WHO’s solidarity trial. Vergeire reported the said drug did not reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

Iyong gamot hindi na-reach objective (The medicine did not reach its objective),” she said.

The WHO has previously discontinued the use of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment after seeing no signs of effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the WHO added two drugs for the therapeutics solidarity trial, which include Acalabrutinib that is used for the chemotherapeutic regimen of patients. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

No need for testing, quarantine for Pinoys from countries with low COVID-19 cases — DOH

UNTV News   •   October 20, 2020

Filipinos returning from countries with low coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases no longer need to undergo quarantine and testing, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued classification on different prevalence levels of each country for the department to determine which countries have low COVID-19 cases.

“For those low to medium prevalence countries na may COVID-19, kapag dumating ang mga OFWs dito maaari nang hindi na muna i-test. Mag-comply ng minimum health standards, they can go back to their provinces, (For those with low to medium prevalence countries with COVID-19, OFWs from those areas no longer need to be tested. Just comply with the minimum health standards and they can go back to their provinces),” Vergeire said.

However, the Health Department reiterates that Filipinos who return to their provinces still need to follow the minimum health standards and symptoms monitoring implemented in the area. Vergeire said the local government units (LGUs) will be in charge of monitoring their condition and COVID-19 testing, if necessary.

It is also under the LGUs mandate to test individuals entering their areas to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Whatever the local governments would require for them to enter into their province, they have to comply,” Vergeire said.

She added LGUs have their own guidelines for domestic travelers, including those who are coming from areas with high COVID-19 cases, such as the National Capital Region. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOST names 13 hospitals involved in WHO COVID-19 vaccine solidarity trials

Robie de Guzman   •   September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Tuesday announced that 13 hospitals will be involved in the solidarity trials of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in the country.

In a statement, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) has adopted the agency’s recommendation for zoning on the solidarity trials for the vaccine candidates against COVID-19 which will be conducted this year.

Dela Peña said the vaccine candidates will be tested in eight trial zones, involving a total of 13 hospitals.

He identified these facilities as the Philippine General Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, and St. Luke’s Medical Center-BGC, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City, De La Salle Health Sciences Institute in Cavite, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

The WHO solidarity trials will start this October and expected to be completed by the second quarter of the following year.

The DOST chief also confirmed that the Philippines is in agreement with five COVID- 19 vaccine developers that will enable clinical trial data sharing.

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