Gov’t urged to prohibit walk-ins in COVID-19 vaccination for minors

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021   •   151

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called on the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 to avoid walk-ins and prevent crowding in vaccination sites when the pilot inoculation for minors begins on October 15.

“I would discourage the NTF from doing a first-come, first-served walk-in type of arrangement,” Gatchalian said during a Senate panel hearing on the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes that also discussed the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to minors.

“We don’t allow a walk-in type of arrangement dahil talagang mag-iipon-ipon ang mga tao, especially now that the weather condition is unpredictable at maya’t maya ay umuulan. Let’s not do a walk-in type of arrangement because that will really spell disaster at the end,” he added, referring to the experience of Valenzuela City, which strictly imposed vaccination schedules to avoid overcrowding in vaccination sites.

The government is poised to begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to minors aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities. They are listed in the Pediatric A3 category and will be the first to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.

Children of healthcare workers will also be given priority in pediatric vaccination against COVID-19.

“It’s about time that we vaccinate our teenagers and we support the prioritization of teenagers with comorbidities,” Gatchalian said.

What we’re driving at is that we don’t want a scenario wherein they will be lining up in those eight hospitals. Kawawa naman ang mga batang ito sa ganung sitwasyon,” he added.

Eight hospitals so far have been designated for the first phase of pediatric vaccination. These include the National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center.

The vaccine rollout in hospitals will begin with the 15-17 age group followed by minors aged 12-14.

The government will be using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the vaccination of this age group, as these were granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

Rollout ng 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose, pinaghahandaan na – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Department of Health (DOH) na pinaghahandaan na nito ang roll out ng ikatlong dose ng COVID-19 vaccine para sa mga health worker (A1), senior citizen (A2) at immunocompromised individuals (A3).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, ang hakbang na ito ay batay sa rekomendasyon ng Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization ng World Health Organization (WHO) na pagbibigay ng dagdag na COVID-19 vaccine shot sa mga nabanggit na grupo na tumanggap ng Sinovac at Sinopharm brands.

Ngunit para maisagawa ito, sinabi ni Vergeire na kailangang maamyendahan ang emergency use authorization ng mga bakuna sa bansa na ang nakasaad na dosing regimen ay dalawa lamang, at isa naman para sa Janssen vaccine.

“Mangyayari lang po iyan kapag nakapaglabas ang Food and Drug Administration ng emergency use authority. Kung matatandaan natin, ang EUA natin para sa mga bakunang meron tayo ay para lang sa pirimary series natin. Ibig sabihin, dalawang doses for most of the vaccine, and sa isang bakua natin Janssen, it’s just one dose, to get fully vaccinated,” ani Vergeire.

Ipinaliwanag rin ng DOH ang kaibahan ng third dose sa booster dose ng bakuna.

Ani Vergeire, ang third dose ay ibinibigay para sa grupo o populasyon ng mga taong mataas ang risk ng infection at walang sapat na immunity kaya nangangailangan sila ng isa pang dosing regimen ng kanilang natanggap na bakuna.

“Third dose, ito ay ibinibigay as part of the primary series. Kung matatandaan niyo in our list of vaccines that we currently use katulad ng Hepatitis B at iba pa nating bakuna, tatlong doses sila,” paliwanag ni Vergeire.

“As the evidence grow further na nabigyan ng kumpletong ebidensya, naipakita ng bakuna na kapag binigyan ng third dose mas nabo-boost ang immune response ng tao and that is the additional dose,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang booster dose naman ay ibinibigay ilang buwan pagkatapos ng primary dosing kapag bumaba na ang immunity ng isang nabakunahan nito.

“When we talk about boosters, itong nakareceive na ng primary series ng bakuna, ibig sabihin fully vaccinated na at naka-receive na ng dalawang dose o di kaya Janssen ang nakuha mo naka-receive ka na ng isang dose,” ani Vergeire.

Hanggang ngayon aniya ay pinag-aaralan pa ng mga eksperto ang pagbibigay ng booster shot.

Wala rin pang rekomendasyon ang WHO ukol rito lalo’t limitado pa rin ang supply ng COVID-19 vaccines.

900K more doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrive in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Around 900,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the country over the weekend.

A total of 720,000 Sputnik V doses from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute were delivered on Saturday (October 16). The latest shipment is the largest delivery so far from the Russian-based vaccine maker.

To date, the country has received a total of 1,290,000 Sputnik V doses consisting of Components I and II.

An additional 207,090 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine also arrived on Saturday.

According to National Task Force Against COVID-19 special adviser Teodoro Herbosa said a portion of the vaccines will be delivered to Cebu and Davao, while the rest will be used for pediatric vaccination which began on Friday (October 15).

“We do hope that this will help a lot in our vaccination program. The other good news is we have reached about 92 million doses delivered to the Filipino people by the different brands. I think the promise of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of 104 million by the end of October will be fulfilled,” he said.

More COVID-19 vaccine supplies are expected to arrive in the country. The national government estimated around 140 million to 160 million doses will be delivered to the Philippines before the end of 2021. AAC

PH updates list of ‘green’ countries

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Friday released an updated list of countries classified under green, yellow, and red, Malacañang said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that from October 16 to 31, passengers from Romania will be barred from entering the Philippines after it was placed under the “red” list or classified as high risk for COVID-19.

The “green” list, which is classified as low-risk based on COVID-19 incidence rate, includes the following countries:

  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China (Mainland)
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • Kiribati
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Samoa
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria,
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

All other countries/jurisdictions/territories not mentioned are classified as yellow list, which is classified as moderate risk for COVID-19.

The IATF said that foreign travelers from “green” countries who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination are only required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

“Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be further required but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” the task force added.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Filipinos from green countries may choose between the following options:

  • Facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken in the quarantine facility upon arrival
  • No facility-based quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Roque said they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day.

In the case of foreign nationals, they shall be required to secure hotel reservations for at least 6 days, he added.

“In the case of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minor children traveling with their fully vaccinated parent/s or guardians, they shall be required to observe the quarantine protocols corresponding to their vaccination status,” Roque said.

“A parent/guardian shall accompany the child in the quarantine facility for the full term of the latter’s facility-based quarantine period,” he added.

On the other hand, travelers from “yellow” countries will have to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 10th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 6 days.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified by Philippine authorities as valid and authentic coming from the “yellow” list, they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 14th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 8 days.

Under IATF guidelines, inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to “red” list within the last 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines shall not be allowed.

“Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated repatriation, non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to testing and quarantine protocols,” Roque said.

These protocols include the following:

  • All arriving passengers shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The first 10 days shall be observed in a quarantine facility, with remainder to be completed under home quarantine in their respective local government units of destination.
  • RT-PCR testing shall be conducted on the 7th day. Notwithstanding a negative test result, the arriving passenger shall complete the facility-based quarantine period of 10 days.
  • The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for 10 days.
  • All passengers merely transiting through a “red” list shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country/jurisdiction/territory if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities.
  • Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the preceding paragraph shall comply with the existing and testing protocols.

To validate their vaccination status, overseas Filipino workers and their spouse, parent/s, and / or children traveling in the Philippines or abroad, non-OFWs vaccinated in the country or abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines can present either of the following:

  • VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate
  • BOQ/World Health Organization (WHO)-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICV)
  • The national/state digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated, which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF

In the case of foreigners vaccinated abroad, they can present WHO-issued ICV, or the national/state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF, Roque said.

 

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