DOH sends medicines, eye drops, other supplies to areas badly-hit by Taal eruption

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2020   •   1329

Volunteers provide free medical examinations inside an evacuation center in Santo Tomas, Batangas, Philippines, 14 January 2020. Volunteers provide free medical examinations inside an evacuation center in Santo Tomas, Batangas, Philippines, 14 January 2020.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it has ramped up its support and augmented resources in response to the ongoing eruption of Taal Volcano.

In a statement, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they have sent medicines, including eye drops and asthma medication, and other supplies such as face masks and water purification tablets, to areas that were heavily affected by the ashfall brought about by the volcanic eruption.

“We have sent drugs, medicines such as eye drops and asthma medication, medical supplies including N95 and surgical face masks, collapsible water containers and jerry cans, water purification tablets, and hygiene kits to CALABARZON and the National Capital Region (NCR),” Duque said.

He added that the additional logistical support is expected to be delivered today.

Duque said they have also deployed personnel to 139 evacuation centers and will continue to conduct Rapid Health Assessment in different affected municipalities in the region.

The DOH has raised Code White Alert in light of Taal volcano’s explosive eruption to maintain continuous coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and DOH centers for health development in Calabarzon and Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, the DOH Center for Health Development Region 4A, including all its hospitals, was placed on Code Blue Alert.

The department also activated its Health Response Cluster, conducted disease surveillance, and procured N95 masks and medicines for respiratory ailments.

Under code white alert, all hospital personnel are placed on standby for deployment while code blue alert means that half of all hospital personnel are required to report for duty to provide medical assistance and services.

“We advise people with asthma to wear the N95 mask, while those not suffering from respiratory ailments may use dust or surgical masks,” Duque said.

“Those who experience eye irritations or difficulty in breathing should seek immediate consultation at the nearest health facility for proper treatment,” he added.

The health official likewise assured that the government is continuously monitoring the developments of the eruption in the Taal region and will respond to the health needs of the people.

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)

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

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2021

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)

ALAMIN: Mga paghahanda bago magpabakuna kontra COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   February 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Ang mga bakuna na lamang ang kulang upang maisakatuparan na ang vaccination program ng pamahalaan.

Halos lahat ng mga lokal na pamahalaan ay nakapagsagawa na ng mga dry run sa sistemang ipatutupad oras na magsimula ang pagbabakuna.

Tiniyak ng mga ito na wala nang aalalahanin ang publiko dahil libreng ibibigay ang mga bakuna.

Kinakailangan na lamang ang pagpaparehistro sa kanya-kanyang lokal na pamahalaan upang mabakunahan.

Ngunit nagbigay paalala ang mga doktor sa mga dapat gawin ng isang indibidwal upang maihanda ang sarili bago magpabakuna.

Ayon kay Dr. Rontgene Solante, isa sa miembro ng vaccine expert panel ng Department of Health (DOH), mahalaga na maikondisyong mabuti ang pangangatawan ng isang taong tatanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine.

Una, dapat ay may sapat na tulog at nakakain ng maayos ang isang magpapabakuna.

Pangalawa, hindi nakaranas ng pag-ubo o lagnat sa nakalipas na tatlong araw bago ang takdang araw ng pagpapabakuna. Kung may sipon lamang ay maaring maituloy ang pagpapabakuna.

Pangatlo at pinaka-mahalaga sa lahat, dapat ay nakahanda ang kaisipan ng isang magpapabakuna at wala nang anumang agam-agam dahil maaring makaapekto ito sa pisikal na kondisyon.

“Talagang preparahan mo siya. Maganda ang (kalusugan) mo, walang sintomas, walang ubo, walang lagnat at saka ang importante dito ready ka sa pagbabakuna,” payo ng eksperto.

“Tanggalin mo rin ang takot mo dahil sa bakuna,  minsan kapag nandoon pa rin ang fear mo o hesitations, baka kapag ini-inject iyan may mga ganoong klaseng kliyente na kapag ini-inject, talagang natatakot. Baka mas lalong mag-manify ang side effects,” dagdag nito.

Paliwanag ni Dr. Solante, normal lamang na magkaroon ng side effects sa isang tao ang kahit anong bakuna.

Payo ng doktor, iwasan na uminom ng anomang gamot upang maibsan ang sakit na mararamdaman pagkatapos na mabakunahan at sa halip ay agad na kumonsulta sa doktor kung kinakailangan.

“Kadalasan kung meron kang lagnat kung sa tingin mo hindi kaya ng katawan mo very uncomfortable for you iinom ka ng Parecetamol. Pero kung kaya naman as much as possible, wala tayong inumin. Uminom lang ng maraming tubig tapos i-monitor,” payo ni Dr. Solante.

“Tapos ang medyo masakit kung saan tinuturok ang bakuna. Usually nawawala iyan within 48 to 72 hours,” dagdag nito.

Nauna nang sinabi ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) na magkakaiba contraindications ng mga bakuna.

Gaya na lamang ng Pfizer-BioNTech na hindi pwedeng ibigay sa may mga allergy, maging sa mga buntis at breastfeeding mothers.

Ang Astrazeneca naman ay patuloy pang iniimbestigahan ang kaso ng mga elderly na namatay sa Norway matapos na mabakunahan nito.

Habang ang Sinovac ay hindi naman inirerekomenda na gamitin sa mga healthcare workers na madalas ma-expose sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19. MNP (sa ulat ni Joan Nano)

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