EUA on Pfizer vaccine won’t be revoked yet despite Norway deaths, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021   •   530

MANILA, Philippines — The emergency use authorization (EUA) issued last week by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to drug-maker Pfizer-BioNTech for its COVID-19 vaccine will not be revoked yet pending an investigation into claims that it caused the death of some elderly people in Norway, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Norwegian authorities are still looking into reports that 23 individuals aged 75 to 80 with underlying health conditions died after getting inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Vergeire also said that studies need to be done on the matter.

“Pfizer has to submit a report to the Philippine Food And Drug Administration regarding this matter. Once we evaluate the report, base sa kanilang conclusion, that’s the time FDA can decide on the EUA of Pfizer. For now,” Vergeire said.

“Hanggang wala pang sufficient evidence that it was caused by vaccines, status quo tayo on this EUA given to Pfizer,” she added.

The FDA granted EUA to Pfizer last January 14, the first out of four applications it received so far. Other applications are AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said they are still awaiting a report from Norwegian authorities and that they will “revise the conditions of the EUA as needed,” before starting vaccinations as part of the agency’s protocols on the use of vaccines.

Health authorities also reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines will go through stringent evaluation before it can be approved for use in the country.

“Aside from the safety, and the efficacy na meron ang mga bakuna na papasok, titingnan din nila iyon pong social impact nito, titingnan nila ang affordability and titingnan nila sa response ng equity,” Vergeire said.

“They will be evaluating and then they give their recommendation to the Secretary. Kapag positive ang recommendation, we can procure the specific vaccine,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Phl COVID-19 active cases now at 59,865 as DOH logs 7,302 new infections

Maris Federez   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported 7,302 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, bringing the country’s total number to 1,315,639.

The DOH said the newly recorded infections brought the country’s total active cases to 59,865. Of this number, 91.2% are mild, 4.6% are asymptomatic, 1.8% are severe, and 1.3% are in critical condition.

The total number of recoveries, on the other hand, rose to 1,232,986 after 7,701 patients recuperated from the respiratory illness.

The death toll climbed to 22,788 as 137 succumbed to the disease.

The DOH also said that final validation of reported cases showed that 15 duplicates were removed from the total case count, while 65 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries were now reclassified under fatalities.

DOH warns against faking health conditions for COVID vax

Marje Pelayo   •   June 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —  The country’s COVID-19 vaccine supply is hardly sufficient for the entire Filipino population that is why the government is prioritizing the vulnerable sectors first.

However, some people who cannot wait for their turn have no problem with faking comorbidities so that they can jump the vaccination line.

The Department of Health (DOH) warned that giving false health declarations could lead to criminal charges.

“Baka hahanap pa tayo ng ibang batas na pwede nating makita at pwede nating gamitin pero iyong pag nagfa-falsify kasi tayo ng mga sakit natin, katulad niyan it’s going to be on public record. Meron po iyang mga penalties—meron na po tayong vina-violate sa ating mga existing laws in the country,” warned Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Republic Act 11332 of the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act states that offenders would face a penalty of up to P50,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.

The DOH is also looking into other laws that could penalize those who will fake their conditions and claim comorbidities just to get vaccinated.

The DOH said people shouldn’t rush to get the vaccine because once the supply is enough, each and every Filipino will have a chance to receive it.

“So atin pong binabalaan at atin pong binibigyan ng advise ang ating mga kababayan. Don’t go to that strategy. Hindi nyo po kailangan gawin iyan. Maghintay lang po tayo at dadating ang mga bakuna para mabakunahan po tayo lahat,” Vergeire said adding that there is a proper process that each person with comorbidity should go through.

They also need to submit some requirements to assess their conditions before they get vaccinated.

“Kapag po tayo ay nag- masterlist nagsusumite ang ating mga kababayan ng mga kanilang apparent comorbidities. Pagdating nila doon sa vaccination site, we need proof or evidence na kailangan maipakita nila na sila talaga ay may sakit. Ang nirequire natin, kailangan meron silang reseta, kailangan six months before meron silang medical certificate, 18 months before pwede, pwedeng mga laboratoryo,” Vergeire stressed.

“Iyan ay ini-evaluate ng ating screeners and pag nakita nila na hindi sya authentic, and then we will just tell them na hindi niyo pa turn and you you just need to go back. So ganun po yung ginagawa natin,” she added.

Meanwhile, the DOH cannot confirm if all in NCR Plus 8 areas would be completely vaccinated to reach population protection before the end of 2021.

According to DOH, herd immunity is only possible once the supply of COVID-19 vaccines becomes stable.

“Ito iyong focusing on specific areas that will give us more impact in vaccinating. So for NCR plus 8, ito po ang ating ine-estima na hopefully by the end of the year we will be able to achieve depending on the supplies that will come in. Pero ang kailangan nating balikan ding population protection also speaks of as here in the Philippines being able to vaccinate those most vulnerable,” Vergeire said. MNP (with report Aiko Miguel)

Gov’t allows fully vaccinated senior citizens in GCQ, MGCQ areas to go out

Marje Pelayo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday (June 11) confirmed that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is allowing senior citizens who have received two doses of vaccine against COVID-19 to leave their homes.

During the DOH regular press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the new policy only covers fully vaccinated senior citizens in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

“Pinapayagan na po ng ating gobyerno na makalabas na ang ating senior citizens sa June 16 na fully vaccinated, iyon pong may dalawang doses ng bakuna dito sa COVID-19,” Vergerie said.

The official advises, however, that despite eased restrictions on the movement of the elderly, they must still observe the minimum health and safety protocols.

“Nanawagan tayo sa mga senior citizen na maari na kayong lumabas pero kailangan lang na nakasuot pa rin kayo ng face mask at face shield. Huwag pupunta sa matataong lugar especially in enclosed spaces,” Vergeire said.

The official stressed that those fully vaccinated senior citizens in areas with higher quarantine restrictions must still stay at home.

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