LIST: Conditions of immunocompromised persons eligible for COVID-19 booster shots

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2021   •   445

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday released a list of conditions for immunocompromised individuals that will qualify them for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Immunocompromised persons with the following conditions are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • HIV
  • Cancer/Malignancy
  • Transplant patients
  • Undergoing steroid treatment
  • Patients with poor prognosis/ bed-ridden patients

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH met with experts on COVID-19 vaccine to discuss and prepare the guidelines for the administration of booster shots for immunocompromised individuals (A3) and senior citizens (A2).

“Gagawin lang po namin ang guidelines and we will be announcing through our National Vaccine Operations Cluster kung kailan po maguumpisa ang pagbabakuna ng booster or 3rd doses para sa ating mga nakakatanda or A2 and those individuals with immunocompromised states,” Vergeire said.

The Philippine government started administering booster shots for fully vaccinated healthcare workers this week.

“There were already 2,488 booster doses administered last Nov. 17 among our healthcare workers. Meron ho tayong kaunti na nagkaroon ng reaction, it’s about 2 percent of all of these,” she said.

“Lahat po ay na-manage accordingly and they were all sent home na they were well. Wala tayong serious na adverse events na naitala para dito sa mga naka-received na ng booster doses,” she added.

Vergeire said that most of the adverse events reported were mild such as headache, elevated blood pressure, fever, and pain on the injection site.

She stressed that healthcare workers are not required to get an additional vaccine dose.

Vergeire also reminded the public that the booster dosing is not yet recommended for the general public, adding that its implementation to other priority groups will be done in phases.

NCR pharmacies, clinics to offer AstraZeneca, Sinovac boosters – DOH Exec

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Drugstores and clinics participating in the government’s “Resbakuna sa Botika” program will initially offer COVID-19 vaccine booster brands made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, an official from the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a public briefing, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said these vaccine boosters will be offered during the program’s pilot implementation as these do not require special storage.

“Initially, ang ibibigay natin ay Sinovac at saka AstraZeneca. Kasi dapat maging gamay ng ating mga pharmacies, iyong magbabakuna iyong mga bakuna,” said Cabotaje, who also chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

“Kaya inumpisahan muna natin ng Sinovac at saka AstraZeneca, kasi puwede sa regular refrigerator iyong tinatawag nating domestic,” she added.

Cabotaje said other vaccine brands like Pfizer and Moderna that require sensitive handling may be deployed after the pilot run.

“And then, after the phase 1 or the phase 2, tingnan natin kung puwede nang bigyan ng ibang bakuna, kasi iyong Pfizer at saka iyong Moderna, kaunting sensitive handling,” she said.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can be stored at -80 degrees Celsius, -20 degrees Celsius, and 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Moderna vaccine may be stored in a freezer set at -50 and -15 degrees Celsius.

The government rolled out its “Resbakuna sa Botika” program on Thursday in select pharmacies and clinics in the capital region as part of efforts to ramp up the vaccination campaign in the country.

Cabotaje said the program will be expanded to areas outside Metro Manila by February.

“After the first rollout, after one week and evaluation, NCR-wide muna tayo and then after NCR-wide, siguro by second week or third week of February, puwede nating umpisahan sa iba’t ibang panig ng ating bansa, based on the readiness assessment of our regional offices. Kung sino ang willing at ready,” she said.

The government said the program aims to assist local government units and the Department of Health with additional personnel for vaccination. It will also help decentralize the inoculation by having smaller but widely spread vaccination sites in the form of drugstores.

Pagpapababa sa presyo ng RT-PCR test pinag-aaralan ng DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Pinag-aaralan na ng Department of Health (DOH) kung maaaring mapababa ang presyo ng RT-PCR o swab test sa gitna ng lumulobong kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

Ang hakbang ay kasunod na rin ng reklamo sa mataas na presyo ng test at dami ng mga nagpapasuri.

Ayon kay DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, inaalam na nila ang paraan kung paano mapapamura ang presyo ng swab test upang hindi gaanong mabigatan ang bulsa ng mga Pilipino.

Noong Setyembre 2021, sinabi ng DOH na dapat ay naglalaro lang sa P2,000 hanggang P3,000 ang presyo ng RT-PCR test sa mga pampubliko at pribadong laboratoryo.

Mula ito sa dating presyo na P3,000 hanggang P5,000.

DOH updates isolation, quarantine times for COVID-19 cases, close contacts

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has disclosed that the protocols for the isolation and quarantine durations for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and close contacts have been updated amid the rapidly rising number of infections in the country.

During a Zoom presentation published on Wednesday, DOH Spokesperson, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the isolation period for fully vaccinated persons with mild COVID-19 will now be shortened from 10 days to seven days from onset of symptoms.

For fully vaccinated asymptomatic cases, the isolation period will be seven days from their positive RT-PCR test result.

“Ten days isolation is retained for those that are partially or unvaccinated, and those with moderate symptoms regardless of vaccination status,” Vergeire said.

“Meanwhile, the isolation period has been retained to 21 days for those with severe and critical disease, and those immunocompromised as outlined by the living CTG panel,” she added.

Vergeire said that for fully vaccinated health workers with boosters, their isolation duration can be shortened to five days by hospital infection prevention and control committee and/or provincial health offices upon careful assessment of benefits and risk.

“They shall also be expanded to other sectors with strict industry standards on IPC subject with IATF approval,” she added.

The quarantine period for fully vaccinated asymptomatic close contacts, Vergeire said, will be shortened to five days from the previous seven days.

“For the quarantine of asymptomatic close contacts for the general public, policies are to be from seven days, we shortened it to five days for those who are fully vaccinated, and we retained 14 days for partially or unvaccinated individuals,” Vergeire said.

“All individuals should also be reminded to continue monitoring their symptoms, wear their mask, and implement minimum public health standards for 14 days,” she added.

The quarantine period for fully vaccinated health workers will be cut short to five days while those with boosters may no longer undergo quarantine period

A note on the slide showing the update quarantine period stated that this is still subject to IATF approval/DOH guidelines.

The DOH said isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine is for those who have been exposed and can possibly develop infection.

Vergeire also said that the testing of asymptomatic close contacts would not be required unless they developed symptoms.

“For healthcare workers that are considered asymptomatic close contacts, for the sake of uniformity, they will follow the five days quarantine similar to the general public, provided, they are fully vaccinated,” she said.

The DOH would also retain that the hospital prevention and control committees could further shorten the healthcare workers’ quarantine with boosters depending on the situations, risks, and benefits, she added.

During the presentation, Vergeire said the update in the DOH guidelines was “deemed necessary” because “the differences in guidelines for quarantine and isolation of travelers, the general public, and specific sectors like healthcare workers had been causing confusion on the ground.”

She also said that amid the continuous rise in the number of cases, most of these remain asymptomatic and mild, which showed the effectiveness of the vaccines against severe COVID-19.

Patients who contracted the Omicron variant also showed milder symptoms that those that caught the Delta variant.

“The prolonged quarantine and isolation duration has been causing strain to our healthcare system and our economy,” Vergeire said.

“Our experts believed that specifically in the Omicron variant the benefits of shortening the quarantine outweighs the risk,” she added.

Vergeire also noted that other countries were also updating their protocols on quarantine and isolation periods.

“While the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is the most aggressive example by bringing down their isolation and quarantine periods to five days, we also see other countries moving down from 14 days to 10 days,” she said.

“The updated policy of the Philippines attempts to find acceptable standards give our current context and allow more flexibility to groups and sectors that can strictly implement infection, prevention, and control procedures,” she added.

Vergeire said the updated policy will be issued in the next few days after it has been presented to and approved by the IATF.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.