Duterte may be injected with Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine by May 2021 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020   •   663

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may be inoculated with Russia-made vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in May 2021, Malacañang said on Thursday.

In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could get Sputnik V vaccine shots as early as May 1 provided that the vaccine is already approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The May 1 is when the PSG [Presidential Security Group] may allow him ‘pag natapos na po lahat ng test na kinakailangang gawin dito sa Gamaleya vaccine,” he said.

Duterte earlier said he is willing to participate in the clinical trials for Sputnik V.

Base on the timeline presented by Roque, the vaccine expert panel will review the results of phases 1 and 2 of the Sputnik V’s clinical trials this September.

The Philippines and Russia will conduct simultaneous phase 3 clinical trials which will run until March 2021. The Russian government is expected to shoulder the costs.

The vaccine will then have to go through the registration process with the FDA in April 2021.

Roque, however, stressed that the vaccine could become available in the market earlier since other organizations are also in advanced stages of conducting clinical trials.

“Baka mayroon pang ibang mauna dahil marami namang pong nasa third phase ng clinical trials at matagal na po silang nasa 3rd phase,” he said.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research, said that if no problems will be encountered on the efficacy of Russia-made vaccine during the trials, the Sputnik V vaccine could be rolled out for commercial use in the Philippines by April 2021.

Montoya is part of the team of Philippine health and vaccine experts who met with the manufacturer and scientists who developed the Sputnik V.

Russia on Tuesday announced it is the first country to grant regulatory approval to a vaccine after less than two months of human testing.

The announcement raised concerns from some international scientists about the safety of the vaccine.

The World Health Organization said Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should first undergo the necessary evaluation process before it could become available for public use. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

COVID-19 referral centers to open in regions: DOH official

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to expand its COVID-19 referral center into other regions to improve coordination among local authorities and healthcare providers amid rising infections in various parts of the country, a health official said Wednesday.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Health Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo Vega said they have established regional hospital commands in Regions 4A, 3, and in Southern Mindanao and Caraga areas.

The One COVID-19 referral center, previously called One Hospital Command, connects patients needing medical attention to healthcare providers. Its headquarters is in Metro Manila.

“Dahan-dahan namin itong nire-regionalize kasi alam naming marami rin kaming calls coming from outside of Metro Manila,” Vega said.

 Malaking breakthrough po ito lalong-lalo na sa interconnectivity between the regional and the national institutions para po mas mabilis ang ating pag-aksyon, lalong lalo na sa mga pangangailangan ng mga regional hospitals at medical centers,” he added.

The expansion of the hospital command to several regions comes amid the reported uptick in COVID-19 cases in parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Vega said the services of the COVID-19 referral center in Metro Manila have improved with the increased number of its personnel and equipment.

The health official said they have added 80 more personnel, including medical doctors, coordinators, call takers and I.T. workers.

The referral center has also transferred its headquarters to a bigger venue, from the Metro Manila Development Authority complex to the Philippine International Convention Center.

More phone lines have also been opened to accommodate more calls.

“Better na ho yung facilities namin ngayon at number of personnel at saka yung connectivity,” Vega said.

Those in need of medical help may call the One COVID-19 Referral Center through hotline 1555, 02-886-505-00, 0919-977-3333, or 0915-777-7777.


Pagsasagawa ng face-to-face classes, isasangguni sa IATF — DepEd

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Nakasalalay sa magiging desisyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang muling pagsasagawa ng face-to-face classes sa darating na pasukan.

Ito ang tugon ng Department of Education (DepEd) sa panawagan ng World Health Organization (WHO) at ng United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ukol sa ligtas na pagbubukas ng mga paaralan at pagbabalik ng physical classes sa gitna ng coronavirus pandemic.

Ayon kay DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, wala pa silang plano sa ngayon na ibalik ang in-person classes ngunit isasangguni nila ito sa Inter-Agency Task Force upang malaman kung maaari na nga ba itong payagan batay sa COVID-19 situation sa bansa.

“Ang Department of Education kung siya ay magbibigay ng advise sa Presidente ay kailangan ding kumonsulta sa IATF, sa Department of Health dahil ang expertise ng pag-aaral nila sa variant na ito… at saka yung advise din ng National Task Force kasi sabi ng Presidente na kailangan mabigyan sya ng assurance na ang mga bata ay safe,” ani Briones.

Aniya, bagaman bumababa na ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa National Capital Region (NCR) Plus areas ay tumataas naman ang bilang ng mga nagkakasakit sa ibang lugar, partikular na sa mga rehiyon ng Bicol, Visayas at Mindanao.

Ani Briones, gagamitin ng DepEd na batayan ang payo ng IATF para sa pagbalangkas ng rekomendasyon kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ukol sa muling pagsasagawa ng in-person classes.

“Palagi nating hinahanapan ng paraan na makarespond but at the same time atin namang respetuhin ang batas na ipinasa ng ating kongreso na ang Presidente ang magdedecide pero dapat bigyan sya ng lahat ng datos ng lahat na impormasyon na kailangan nya para makagawa siya ng wise decision,” ang pahayag ng opisyal.

Plano ng DepEd na muling buksan ang klase para sa School Year 2021-2022 sa buwan ng Agosto o sa ikalawang linggo ng Setyembre. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Visayas, Mindanao not neglected in COVID-19 vaccine deployment, Palace says

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The national government on Tuesday denied claims that it neglected the Visayas and Mindanao regions in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is no truth in the accusations of neglect because the government has been distributing vaccine shots to areas experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

“Hindi po totoo yan na ginipit natin ang ibang parte ng Pilipinas,” Roque said during a press briefing.

House Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez earlier said the national government is taking its time in distributing the bulk of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Metro Manila despite their repeated request for additional supply.

But Roque said only 38 percent of the vaccine supply was allocated to Metro Manila and nearby areas and that the remaining supply is delivered to the rest of the Philippines “pursuant to equitable distribution as mandated by the President.”

“Hindi po totoo yan… Inuna lang natin yung una na pinakamataas ang numero pero ngayong tumataas po sa iba, nagpapadala rin tayo ng karagdagang bakuna sa mga lugar na yan,” he said.

The Palace official also said that available data shows that compliance with minimum health protocols went down in some areas in Visayas and Mindanao that are currently facing surges in COVID-19 infections.

“Ang pagkalat po ng sakit, hindi po yan dahil sa kawalan ng bakuna. ‘yan po ay dahil bumaba ang compliance with minimum health requirements,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed 21 areas under stricter modified enhanced community quarantine from June 16 to 30.

Metro Manila and Bulacan will stay under general community quarantine (GCQ) level with “some restrictions” while the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal are under GCQ with “heightened restrictions” until the end of this month.

Other areas under GCQ from June 16 to June 30, 2021 are Baguio City, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, and Benguet in the Cordillera Administrative Region; Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino in Region 2; Batangas and Quezon in Region 4-A; Iligan City in Region 10; Davao del Norte in Region 11; General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato, and South Cotabato in Region 12; and Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City in BARMM.


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