DOH, Davao City hold COVID-19 vaccine deployment simulation

Robie de Guzman   •   February 11, 2021   •   297

The Davao City government and the Department of Health (DOH) Region XI have conducted a simulation exercise for the transport and handling of the COVID-19 vaccines expected to arrive in the country soon.

DOH-XI regional director Dr. Anabelle Yumang said the simulation held on Wednesday is one of the critical steps in ensuring that the vaccines will be delivered in a timely and safe manner as it aims to identify the strengths and gaps in the end-to-end supply chain system.

“That means that from the conduct of the loading, transport, unloading, receiving and inspection of the vaccine will be reviewed by the whole team to assess the best practices, as well as what needs to be improved during this activity,” Yumang was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the city government’s public information office.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, acting City Health Officer, also said that the simulation exercise was necessary since time and motion is important in preserving the vaccines.

“Time and motion are very important so that we can preserve the vaccines. As we know, we have limitations in the vaccine and we cannot afford to have even single spoilage. And that’s why we have to assure from the transport down to the facility, para ma-regulate po natin yung mga vaccine,” Lopez said.

The simulation exercise involved the arrival of the aircraft at the Davao International Airport and the transportation of vaccines to the molecular laboratory of the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) for inspection.

The simulation team completed the total running time and motion process in 34 minutes and 58 seconds.

Yumang said the process will be reviewed to assess the best practices as well as what needs to be improved to shorten the time of transportation.

They are also looking at the aspect of monitoring the vaccine temperature to ensure that no fluctuation will occur while it is in transit to the storage facility.

Yumang said they don’t have a definite date yet on the arrival of the vaccine in the city but based on information from the DOH national office, the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in the Philippines on Friday, February 12.

No information was also given as to what brand of vaccine will first arrive in the city but they are particularly preparing for handling of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, since these are the only ones that require an ultra-low refrigerator with a temperature of -70°C to -80°C for storage, she added.

However, the only facility with ultra-low freezer storage in the city is the government-owned Los Amigos Molecular Laboratory.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, OIC Medical Center Chief of SPMC, said the ultra-low refrigerator that the SPMC has purchased is yet to arrive on February 19.

If Pfizer vaccines will arrive before the SPMC’s ultra-low freezer is delivered, Yumang said they will endorse the vaccines to the Los Amigos Molecular Laboratory even though it has not yet been licensed as a testing laboratory since they are only using the freezer.

The Los Amigos laboratory has a capacity of 35,000 vials. It was also already inspected by the DOH and FDA.

Yumang said they will conduct another simulation exercise for the transport of vaccines to Los Amigos, which is farther from the Davao International Airport. 

The National Task Force against COVID-19 and DOH-Manila earlier conducted a simulation exercise for the arrival of the vaccines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and its transportation to hospitals and storage facilities in Metro Manila.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said they will conduct another simulation exercise for the deployment of vaccines to other vaccine central hubs in Visayas and Mindanao before actual the arrival date of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Philippine government earlier said it is expecting to receive 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week.

PH posts 7,379 new COVID-19 cases; 21,664 recoveries

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reached 953,106 on Tuesday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 7,379 additional infections.

In its bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure pushed the country’s total active cases to 127,006.

The agency noted however, that the tally does not include data from eight laboratories that failed to submit their reports on time.

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 20, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 7,379 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The total recoveries rose to 809,959 after 21,664 more patients recuperated from the viral respiratory disease.

The death rose increased to 16,141 with 93 new fatalities.

DOH updates guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has revised its guidelines on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment program.

Under the Department Memorandum No. 2021-0175, the DOH said that individuals who recently recovered from COVID-19 may be vaccinated immediately after recovery or completion of treatment for their first or second dose.

The DOH previously said that persons who tested positive for COVID-19 had to wait for 90 days before they get vaccinated.

This development comes after the country’s vaccine experts panel recommended inoculating COVID-19 survivors 14 days after their recovery.

The new DOH guidelines also state that individuals who were not able to receive their second dose due to medical reasons must coordinate with their respective vaccination sites for the immediate rescheduling of their vaccination.

The agency also said that only individuals experiencing a blood pressure (BP) of 180/120 or higher, with signs and symptoms of organ damage during the screening process, cannot be vaccinated.

“Other vaccine recipients with blood pressure not meeting definitions of hypertensive emergency may be vaccinated,” the DOH said.

The department also emphasized that medical clearance is not required for vaccination, except for individuals with autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer patients currently undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, transplant patients, those undergoing steroid treatment, and patients who are bedridden or with a poor prognosis.

The national government is currently vaccinating persons and workers belonging to A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities) priority sectors. The Inter-Agency Task Force has also approved the list of sectors that are included in the A4 group.

The DOH earlier reported that over one million Filipinos have been vaccinated against COVID-19 disease.

The agency, however, reminded to continue observing minimum public health standards even after vaccination to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

US gives P170M support for Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine deployment

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US) government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided P170 million or $3.5 million funds to support the Philippines in its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the US Embassy in Manila said Thursday.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law announced this during a visit to a vaccination site in Caloocan City with Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, and other U.S. and Philippine officials.

The embassy said the new assistance will support the Philippines in strengthening the vaccine supply chain, monitoring vaccine safety, and delivering effective communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy.

It will also support local government units as they plan for, track, and administer vaccines, it added.

“While the pandemic has tested our peoples and our economies, the strong bonds between Americans and Filipinos will help us rise above this challenge,” Law said.

“We will continue to fight this unprecedented global health crisis together,” he added.

The latest assistance fund brings the total U.S. government support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to nearly P1.3 billion ($27 million), the embassy said.

Meanwhile, the embassy further reported that the White House recently announced a P194 billion ($4 billion) commitment to support the COVAX facility.

COVAX Facility is a global initiative to support early vaccine access for 92 countries, including the Philippines.

An initial P97.2-billion ($2 billion) contribution, provided through USAID, is supporting the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the embassy said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 1.2 million vaccine doses out of the more than 3 million doses that were delivered in the country.

Government data showed that 1,093,651 people received their first shot while 162,065 individuals already got two doses since the vaccination program started on March 1.

 

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