LGUs urged to support COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Robie de Guzman   •   February 15, 2021   •   229

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) to support the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccine and other independent vaccine trials.

The DILG said that this in line with the memorandum of agreement between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and DILG on the zoning and implementation of vaccine trials where all cities in Metro Manila, including the municipality of Pateros, Davao City, and the provinces of Cebu and Cavite have been identified as areas of implementation for vaccine trials.

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, vaccine recipients for the WHO Solidarity Trial will be recruited from the top 5 to 10 barangays with high COVID-19 cases identified by the Department of Health-Bureau of Epidemiology (DOH-EB).

Malaya stressed that coordination with LGUs, especially at the barangay level, is vital in the success of the vaccine clinical trials.

“We need the full support of our LGUs since trial sites will be at the barangay level and randomization will be by households. The household census will also be obtained from the barangays to ensure follow up,” he said in a statement.

Malaya clarified that the vaccine solidarity trials are different from the government’s vaccination program, as the trials are for candidate vaccines to test their efficacy and safety while the national vaccination program are for vaccines that are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The DILG said some 15,000 volunteers aged 18 to 59 years will be involved the country’s WHO solidarity trials, which is a global effort to evaluate the safety and efficacy of candidate vaccines which are not yet approved by the FDA.

Independent clinical trials by private vaccine companies may also be assigned trial zones to ensure equal and rational distribution to avoid competition in subject recruitment.

In Memorandum Circular No. 2021-011, DILG officer-in-charge Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. urged identified LGUs to provide logistic support or other non-monetary assistance needed by the project teams through transportation of potential participants to the trial sites for screening, vaccination, and scheduled follow-up visit.

LGUs are also enjoined to assist in locating participants who do not come to the trial site for the scheduled visit and bringing participants to the hospital site in the event of an exposure to or presentation of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or the development of adverse reactions.

Local government units are likewise encouraged to assist, in coordination with the project team, in organizing meetings related to the clinical trials such as the orientation of potential participants.

“Inaasahan po namin ang inyong buong suporta at pakikiisa upang maging matagumpay ang mga vaccine trials sa ating bansa. Ipakita po natin ang tunay na diwa ng bayanihan sa ating patuloy na pagtugon sa pandemiyang ito,” Malaya said.

For monitoring purposes, the DILG has directed all its concerned regional offices to submit monthly situation reports regarding the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine trials in their respective areas of jurisdiction to the DILG Central Office through the Bureau of Local Government Development.

Marikina Mayor expresses concern over low turnout of health workers on Day-2 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2021

Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro has expressed concern over the low turnout of healthcare workers (HCW) during the second day of the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

From the 1,500 frontline workers from the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center (ARMMC) who were pre-qualified to receive the vaccine, only 130 actually got vaccinated on Tuesday (March 2) at the Marikina Sports Center.

Teodoro said several health workers changed their minds to wait for the next batch of vaccines that will arrive in the country.

He also said he was willing to get vaccinated first to boost the confidence of health workers in Marikina; however, he was declined.

Testing Czar Vince Dizon said mayors are not yet permitted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine since it will be allotted for frontline health workers.

Mababa ngayon ang reception, mababa ang tiwala. Iyong marami kapag tinatanong mo, ang sa sinasabi nila, gusto nilang magpabakuna pero gusto nilang makatiyak sa kaligtasan nito (There is low reception, low confidence. Most of them say they would want to get vaccinated if its safety is assured),” Teodoro said. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Karagdagang 5,000 doses ng Sinovac, ipadadala ng DILG sa Pasay City

Freema Gloria   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na rin ngayong araw (March 2) ang pagbabakuna sa mga healthworker sa Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH) gamit ang inisyal na 300 doses ng Sinovac vaccine na ipinadala ng national government.

Unang nagpabakuna sa nasabing ospital si DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya. Aniya, ito ay upang makahiyakat sa publiko na magpabakuna rin.

“Papaano mahihikayat yung ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna kung mismong yung gaya namin na humihikayat sa kanila ay hindi nagpapabakuna. Kaya namin ginagawa ito” sabi ni Malaya.

Sinabi rin ni Usec. Malaya, nangako ang Department of Interior and Local Government na magpapadala ito ng karagdagang 5,000 doses ng bakuna sa PCGH.

Dagdag pa ni Malaya, batid ng pamahalaan ang hamon sa lungsod ng Pasay kung paano nito nilulutas ang pagkalat pa ng COVID-19 sa lungsod. Kaya nais ng pamahalaan na mabakunahan ang lahat ng frontliners sa Pasay City.

Ayon naman kay Dr. John Victor de Gracia, ang deputy chief ng clinical service ng PCGH, nasa mahigit 400 ang kanilang empleyado, ngunit nasa 100 lamang ang boluntaryong nagpabakuna ng Sinovac. Karamihan umano sa kanila ang mas piniling magpabakuna sa vaccine na gawa ng Pfizer.

Gayunpaman, malaking tulong na rin sa kanila ang bakunang ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng pamahalaan.

“This is really a big help for us because this is another line of protection for us” sabi ni De Gracia.

Sa ngayon, nasa 77 na barangay na ang isinailalim sa localized enhanced community quarantine .

Tatlo rin sa mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant na unang natuklasan sa South Africa ay mga residente ng naturang lungsod.

Ngunit ayon kay Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto, gumagaling na ang mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant at bumababa na rin ang positivity rate o ang bilang ng mga nagpositibo sa lungsod.

“Doon sa barangays na may South African variant ay aming uulitin ang pagti-test upang makasigurado tayo doon sa naging positive at doon sa mga na-contat trace natin” sabi ni Mayor Calixto.

Nagdagdag na rin ang DILG ng mga contact tracer upang mas mabilis ang pagtunton sa mga nakasalamuha ng mga nagpositibo sa sakit. — Rey Pelayo

Duterte to wait for FDA approval before using Sinopharm vax – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for China-state-owned Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before receiving a dose, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the FDA confirmed that it has received Sinopharm’s application for an EUA that was filed on Monday afternoon.

“Mag-aantay po si president ng EUA dahil nabalita ko nga kahapon, mayroon na pong nag-apply ng EUA for the Sinopharm,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Securing an EUA from the FDA is part of the process for a vaccine to be legally used in the country.

The FDA earlier approved a compassionate use license for 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines for the members of the Presidential Security Group.

The agency, however, clarified that the issuance of such a permit is not tantamount to a stamp of approval.

Duterte earlier expressed a preference for Sinopharm developed COVID-19 vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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