DOH, NTF: Donated Sinovac jabs to arrive in PH over next few days but rollout on hold

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2021   •   439

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force COVID-19 (NTF) on Thursday confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines made by China drug firm Sinovac will arrive in the country over the next few days but its rollout remains on hold.

The DOH and NTF issued the clarification following reports that the 600,000 vaccine doses donated by the Chinese government will be delivered to the country on February 28, Sunday, making it the first vaccine to arrive in the Philippines.

Malacañang earlier mentioned the possibility of starting the immunization program by March 1 following the vaccines’ arrival but the DOH and the NTF said its allocation and rollout schedule is still pending.

“The Department of Health and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 jointly clarify that as of press time, specific details as to the allocation and subsequent rollout of the 600,000 donated SINOVAC doses are still being evaluated pending the official recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and its approval by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),” the agencies said in a joint statement.

The DOH and NTF said an arrival ceremony for the vaccines will be held at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City but details of the program are still being finalized in coordination with the Chinese Embassy.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday issued an emergency use authorization to Sinovac but did not recommend its use for healthcare workers frequently exposed to COVID-19 patients due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4% in clinical trials conducted in Brazil.

The FDA, however, clarified that healthcare workers may still get the Sinovac vaccine if they choose to. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Pre-vaccination health screening still a requirement – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that health screening prior to vaccination remains a requirement despite recommendations from health experts to forego this process.

In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire emphasized that conducting a screening prior to a patient’s vaccination is important as this will help check for symptoms related to COVID-19 or other diseases.

She said this step is especially important for the elderly and persons with co-morbidities even when they are already receiving their second dose.

“Kailangan mong screen kahit second dose kasi meron po tayong specific na circumstances na hindi natin pwedeng bigyan ng bakuna ang ating mga kababayan,” she said.

“Whether it be first or second dose, kailangan nai-screen sila,” she added.

The DOH earlier issued revised guidelines on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment program.

Under the Department Memorandum No. 2021-0175, 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 DOH also 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.

Those 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.

Vergeire said that vaccinators should be reminded to take conduct health screening and to follow the vaccination guidelines.

“Sinasabi ngayon na mayroong gumagawa na hindi na nag-screen hindi po iyan tama,” she said.

Vergeire also said that there is no more need to ask vaccine recipients for informed consent when administering the second shot as this has been obtained during the first dose. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOH: Over 1.5 million COVID-19 doses administered in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has so far administered more than 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since the government started its immunization drive last March 1, government data released on Wednesday said.

In its vaccine statistics bulletin as of April 21, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that a total of 1,562,563 vaccine doses have already been administered, including 1,353,107 doses that were given as the first jab.

The data also showed that 209,456 individuals have so far received their second vaccine dose.

The DOH also said that all of the 3,025,600 available COVID-19 vaccines in the country have been distributed to local government units.

As of 20 April 2021, 6 PM, 3,263 sites have conducted COVID-19 vaccination in various sites in 17 regions.  This reflects an increase of 275 vaccination sites from the April 13 record of 2,988.

DOH data also show that the seven-day average of vaccinated individuals per day is 43,835. This is slightly lower than the 47,545 reported as of April 13.

The government is currently vaccinating those in priority groups A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with co-morbidities).

The vaccines administered to these groups were those developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech and British-Swede AstraZeneca.

Philippines records 9,227 new COVID-19 cases; 19,699 recoveries

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Wednesday registered 9,227 new novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, bringing the total caseload to 962,307, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The DOH said the latest tally pushed the country’s active cases to 116,434.

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

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 21, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 9,227 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The DOH also announced 19,699 new recovered patients, bringing the total number of recoveries to 829,608.

The death toll climbed to 16,265 with 124 new fatalities.

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