DOH to conduct nationwide anti-measles, polio vaccination starting Oct. 26

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2020   •   132

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday announced it is set to hold a nationwide supplemental vaccination activity against measles, rubella, and polio starting Oct. 26 amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the DOH said that under the immunization program, children aged 9 to 59 months old will be given measles-rubella vaccine while 0 to 59 months old will be provided with oral polio vaccine.

The department said the program will be rolled out in two phases – phase 1 will be conducted from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25 in Mindanao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley Region, MIMAROPA Region, and Bicol Region; while phase 2 will be held in February 2021 in Visayas, National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a high-quality immunization activity is urgently needed to avert a possible measles outbreak in 2021 and halt the ongoing polio recirculation in communities. We encourage parents and caregivers to have their children immunized,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

In the Philippines, an estimated 2.4 million children under the age of five are susceptible for measles, according to the DOH.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. It can cause high-grade fever, rashes, cough, eye infection and can lead to complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, blindness, severe diarrhea, and swelling of the brain.

Polio, on the other hand, is a potentially debilitating disease that causes fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness and can eventually lead to lifelong paralysis.

If severe enough, both diseases can ultimately lead to death.

The DOH said there is no specific treatment for these illnesses and that the only reliable protection is through vaccination.

Duque reiterated that the measles, rubella and polio vaccines are safe, effective and free.

He also assured that all healthcare workers have been trained on infection prevention and control, adding that they will be provided with personal protective equipment to shield them against possible COVID-19 infections.

DOH reiterates warning vs use of misting, fog machines as disinfectants

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020

Misting and fog machines are still not recommended by the Department of Health (DOH) to be used as disinfectants to protect individuals from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The health department said there is no concrete evidence proving the effectiveness of such machines in killing the virus. Instead, these machines pose risks in further spreading the virus in the environment.

“The routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaced by spraying or fogging in indoor spaces also known as fumigation or misting is not recommended for COVIID-19,” according to DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in May stating that misting machines used as a disinfectant might result in skin irritation and difficulty in breathing. Fogging, meanwhile, may have negative environmental effects.

Iyan po iyong kasama sa sinasabing rekomendasyon ng WHO that it may cause harm, cause more harm than good (That is included in WHO’s recommendation), Vergeire said.

The health department reminded households to use the right amount of disinfectant directly on objects or any household items.

The DOH added it is better to wipe the surface with disinfectant instead of just spraying them. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Ombudsman suspends 5 DOH officials for delay in release of frontliner benefits

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered a preventive suspension against five Department of Health (DOH) officials for the alleged delays in the release of frontliner benefits.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires signed the order on Tuesday (October 27) to preventively suspend for six months Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an; Kenneth Ronquillo, Maylene Beltran, Laureano Cruz and Esperanza Carating.

The order is to prevent the officials from potentially tampering with documents or evidence while an investigation on the health department is ongoing.

The investigation was opened in June to look into the alleged delay in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other medical gears, alleged lapses that led to the rising number of health workers infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), inaction to the release of financial benefits for fallen medical workers, as well as confusing and delayed reports of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The DOH previously welcomed the said investigation and assured they will fully cooperate with the appropriate authorities. AAC

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)

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