DOH warns against buying and selling of blood plasma

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020   •   266

The Department of Health (DOH) warned the public against buying and selling of blood plasma taken from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) survivors.

DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is a high health risk in buying blood plasma from unverified sellers.

May mga sakit na maaaring maisalin galing diyan sa mga dugo na binebenta natin (Blood that are sold could contain diseases that can be transmitted). Ito po ang mga (these are) transmissible infections through the blood. This is very risky kasi magkakasakit ang pagbibigyan natin ng mga dugong ito (because it could sicken the recipient), ” she said.

The DOH has received reports of recovered COVID-19 patients selling blood plasma at P80,000 per bag in Cebu City. Vergeire said there is no guarantee the blood plasma underwent proper evaluation to ensure that it is safe for blood transfusion.

Vergeire said blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors contains antibodies that can help fight the infection as well as boost the immune system of COVID-19 patients. However, COVID-19 survivors need to undergo proper screening in qualified hospitals and blood centers that are conducting convalescent plasma therapy.

Kaya nga ayaw natin na pinagbebenta o ayaw nating pinababayaran ang dugo. Gusto natin na inii-screen muna natin ang mga pasyente bago sila makapagbigay ng dugo para maiwasan ang mga ganitong risks (That is why we do not want these blood plasma to be sold. We want to screen the patients first before donation to avoid risks),” she said.

The Health Department also discourages COVID-19 survivors from selling their blood plasma and donate them instead. A website called, plasmangpagasa.com, has been launched for COVID-19 survivors to register and donate their blood.

Meanwhile, DOH Region 7 has begun their investigation on the sale of blood plasma in their area. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Roque advises public to trust vaccine experts, not influencers on social media

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday (January 18) advised the public to trust experts and not social media influencers regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

During a press briefing, Roque said it is wrong to compare vaccines to detergent soap which is an apparent reply to a tweet of comedian Vice Ganda.

Roque said there is less supply of vaccines compared to the supply of clothing detergents. He also reiterated that vaccine experts are more knowledgeable on which COVID-19 vaccines are better.

Nag-aagawan nga po tayo sa 18% na supply. Pangalawa, hindi lang naman po gagamitin para sa damit. Kaya nga po, hindi lang po isa, hindi lang po dalawa, kundi tatlong grupo pa ng mga eksperto ang magsusuri kung ang mga bakuna ay ligtas at epektibo (We are vying for 18% of [vaccine] supply. Secondly, it will not be used for clothing. Three groups of vaccine experts are reviewing which vaccines are safe and effective),” he said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz).

Vaccine prices circulating online not negotiated prices, DOH clarifies

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday clarified that the prices of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine circulating online were indicative market prices based on the rates published by manufacturers and not the negotiated prices with the Philippine government.

In a statement, the DOH said the prices were generated for the purpose of estimating the proposed budget for the procurement of the vaccine.

The department issued the clarification in response to a price list released by a senator during the Senate’s hearing on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

The price list showed that total prices for two doses of Moderna cost P3,904 – P4,504; Sinovac, P3,629.50; Pfizer, P2,379; Gamaleya, P1,220; COVAX Facility, P854; AstraZeneca, P610; and Novavax, P366.

“These are not, in any way, the negotiated prices that the government and the manufacturer agreed on,” it said.

The DOH then urged the public to “trust and respect the process that the country, through vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, is undertaking to ensure that Filipinos are afforded the best vaccines at the most ideal prices.”

QC gov’t to launch KyusiPass app to boost contact tracing efforts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Government is set to launch KyusiPass application to boost its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the contact tracing app can help the city keep track of who is visiting establishments within its jurisdiction.

“Currently, our businesses are requiring their guests to fill-up health declaration forms. Through our KyusiPass, they will just tap their QR code onto the scanner and their information, including their name and mobile number, will automatically be sent to our servers handled by our City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU),” she said.

Belmonte said each individual with a valid mobile number who is residing, working, or doing business in Quezon City is required to get a personal QR code. They can register by signing up on the SafePass website, SafePass Facebook chatbot, and through SMS.

Meanwhile, CESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz assures app users that their data will remain private and protected.

“Our QCitizens have nothing to worry about because their data will be protected and secured. Only us in CESU can access their information, and only if we need to trace the contacts of a ‘positive’ visitor from a specific establishment,” he noted. AAC

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