Gov’t eyeing to begin immunization program in February, says vaccine czar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2021   •   222

MANILA, Philippines — The national government is planning to begin the COVID-19 immunization program in February, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

He said 50,000 of China’s Sinovac vaccines are set to arrive in the country on February 20. An additional 950,000 doses will arrive in March, and two million more in the succeeding months.

Galvez also reported that Pfizer may also provide more or less 25 to 40 million doses once negotiations are finalized. The government is also in the final stages of negotiation with drug maker Johnson & Johnson, the vaccine czar added.

“Kapag nagpirmahan po tayo baka, hopefully, kung mayroon silang excess from US at other countries pwede pong mai-deliver ito sa atin (Once the agreement has been signed hopefully, if there is excess from the United States and other countries, [the vaccines] can be delivered to us),” he told the President during a meeting in Malacañang.

Other vaccine companies that the government is in talks with include American biotechnology company Moderna, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute. Gamaleya promised to deliver 50 to 100 million doses to the country.

Meanwhile, local government units have already inked a deal with Astrazeneca for a supply of around 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. AAC

San Juan Mayor Zamora contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora confirmed on Monday that he has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a Facebook post, Zamora said he is currently under quarantine at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

“I would like to announce that I have tested positive with COVID-19. My results came out today after a routine swab test yesterday evening, February 28, 2021. A confirmatory test was done today and the results turned out to be positive,” he said.

“I have decided to quarantine myself in Cardinal Santos Medical Center to ensure that I do not transmit the virus to anyone else in the community and to protect everyone around me including my children and my wife who is a cancer survivor,” he added.

I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am asymptomatic and in good physical condition. I have decided to quarantine…

Posted by Mayor Francis Zamora on Monday, March 1, 2021

He advised those who came in contact with him in the past few days to have themselves tested for the virus and coordinate with the City Health Office for the conduct of free RT-PCR test.

Health chief Duque won’t be inoculated with Sinovac COVID-19 jab – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will not be receiving the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“FTD (Francisco T Duque III) will not be vaccinated with SINOVAC as EUA provisions exclude 60 and above,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.

“He also underscores that we will follow the prioritization framework, and will ensure that limited doses will go to the HCWs first,” it added.

Duque, 64, earlier said he is willing to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine but the age bracket recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might become an issue.

The FDA said the Sinovac jabs are only recommended to be administered to people aged 18 to 59 years old as it showed a higher efficacy rate in the said group based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia and Turkey.

Duque led the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers and other frontliners on Monday after the donated 600,000 Sinovac vaccines from China arrived in the country on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Five report feeling unwell after getting Sinovac jab; doctor says mild side effects ‘normal’

Robie de Guzman   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Five people were reported feeling unwell after being administered with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) on the first day of the vaccination program rollout.

In Correspondent Dante Amento’s report on UNTV’s Ito Ang Balita, five people were sent to the emergency room for monitoring and observation.

One of them was a male staff of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office who experienced a dizzy spell a few minutes after receiving the vaccine.

A female vaccinee experienced rashes, while two others reported having a high blood pressure and palpitations.

Of the cases, two have been discharged.

According to VMMC director, Dr. Dominador Chiong, the reported symptoms can be considered mild side effects if these are proven to have been caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.

They are also not discounting the possibility that the symptoms may have also been caused by other factors such as anxiety about the vaccination and fatigue, as well as the heat.

“Pwedeng mangyari po yun talaga just like in any other medication,” Chiong said.

The Philippine government on Monday formally rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program to several hospitals in Metro Manila after receiving the donated vaccine doses from China on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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