DOH: Dengue cases rise to nearly 116,000; 500 deaths

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 25, 2019   •   2064

Patients suffering from dengue fever receive medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

The number of dengue cases continues to rise to 115,986 with 491 deaths according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The health department said several regions in the country, which include Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao, Soccksargen, and BARMM, have surpassed the dengue alert threshold.

READ: DOH declares dengue alert in several regions

Cavite and several areas in Zamboanga City have already declared a state of calamity due to the increasing number of dengue cases in the area.

The DOH, meanwhile, reiterates the importance of seeking early consultation to avoid grave consequences.—AAC

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12,000 doses of CoronaVac arrive in Davao City; vaccination rollout to start on Friday

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

DAVAO CITY, Philippines Aboard the flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), 12,000 doses (placed in 20 boxes) of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines arrived at the Davao International Airport on Tuesday, March 2, at 6:45 in the morning.

The 12,000 doses of CoronaVac are allocated for the vaccination of more than 8,000 frontliners, most of whom are healthcare workers (HCW).

However, the vaccines were brought to the Department of Health (DOH) Regional office, instead of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) as originally planned.

The DOH said this is because Sinovac vaccines are not as temperature-sensitive as that of Pfizer vaccines which the SPMC storage facility was designed and constructed for.

CoronaVac can be stored in a storage facility with a +2 to +8˚Celsius temperature, as compared to that of Pfizer vaccines which require a -70˚Celsius temperature.

The DOH said they did not encounter any problems in the transportation of the vaccines from the airport to the DOH office.

The health department also reported that the vaccination rollout among frontliners will begin on Friday, with a target of 150 HWCs.

Based on the DOH priority list, 3,000 HCWs from the SPMC will be inoculated first, to be followed by those from private hospitals.

SPMC OIC Dr. Ricardo Audan, Davao City COVID-19 focal person Dr. Ashley Lopez, and DOH Regional Director Annabelle Yumang volunteered to receive the vaccines first to set an example to their colleagues. —/mbmf (with details from Davao Correspondent, Marisol Montaño)

Health chief Duque won’t be inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 jab – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will not be receiving the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“FTD (Francisco T Duque III) will not be vaccinated with SINOVAC as EUA provisions exclude 60 and above,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.

“He also underscores that we will follow the prioritization framework, and will ensure that limited doses will go to the HCWs first,” it added.

Duque, 64, earlier said he is willing to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine but the age bracket recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might become an issue.

The FDA said the Sinovac jabs are only recommended to be administered to people aged 18 to 59 years old as it showed a higher efficacy rate in the said group based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia and Turkey.

Duque led the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers and other frontliners on Monday after the donated 600,000 Sinovac vaccines from China arrived in the country on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

IATF OKs use of Sinovac COVID-19 vax for healthcare workers

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has agreed with the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) to use Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare workers, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said NITAG experts have concluded that the vaccine will be beneficial and is sufficient to be used for healthcare workers despite its lower efficacy rate of 50.4% for those frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on Monday, issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sinovac but did not recommend its use for health workers caring for COVID-19 patients due to its lower efficacy rate based on clinical trials conducted in Brazil.

Vergeire stressed that the FDA’s recommendation on Sinovac was not a contraindication and that this does not prohibit healthcare workers from getting the Sinovac jab.

“Ultimately, the EUA of FDA establishes the safety and efficacy of Sinovac and our experts have ruled that SINOVAC’s 100% efficacy rate in preventing moderate and severe cases is indeed sufficient to meet the goal of reducing deaths — protections which we want to afford first and foremost to our healthcare workers,” she said.

Experts from NITAG also emphasized that the vaccine is safe and that they themselves are prepared to receive a shot.

“In our deliberations what we looked at it is safety to ensure the vaccine is safe that has been borne out by the review of the trials,” Dr. Marissa Alejandira, DOH-TAG member, said.

“As for myself, as a healthcare worker who sees COVID-19 patients, I am willing to take this vaccine,” Dr. Edsel Salvana, also a DOH TAG member, said.

They, however, stressed that medical frontliners will not be forced to take the shot and that they will not lose their priority status if they chose to decline the Sinovac vaccine shot.

The DOH said it is now finalizing details on how to allocate the 600,000 Sinovac vaccine doses expected to arrive on Sunday, February 28. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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