Makati residents to get free COVID-19 vaccines – Mayor Binay

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021   •   813

MANILA, Philippines — All residents of Makati City will be provided with COVID-19 vaccine for free, Mayor Abby Binay announced on Monday.

Binay said the city government has allotted P1 billion budget for the COVID-19 vaccine which wll be procured once it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for distribution and use.

The mayor said the local government is currently preparing an online registration system to be accessed by Makati residents availing of the free COVID-19 vaccine.

Guidelines for the online registration will be announced soon, Binay added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Probe on PSG COVID-19 vaccination to push through – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday said it will push through with its investigation into the unauthorized inoculation of COVID-19 vaccine to some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo issued this statement even after President Rodrigo Duterte told his security detail to keep mum should lawmakers ask them about their vaccination.

Duterte’s order to the PSG prompted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to call off its investigation into the controversial immunization.

Domingo said the president’s directive only applies to congressional hearings.

“Ang FDA po mayroong set po ng proseso kung paano po naming hina-handle at ini-investigate ang mga complaint at mga reports na mga ganito,” he said during a public briefing.

“Itutuloy naman po namin ‘yun according to process laid down by FDA,” he added.

The National Bureau of Investigation is also conducting a separate probe into the issue.

Malacañang earlier lauded the security group’s courage in taking an unregistered vaccine as part of their mission to protect the health and safety of the president. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

NBI, itutuloy ang imbestigasyon sa ‘di otorisadong COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Tuloy pa rin ang gagawing imbestigasyon ng National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) sa mga hindi rehistrado at hindi otorisadong pagsasagawa ng COVID-19 vaccination sa bansa.

Ito ay sa kabila ng utos ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa Presidential Security Group (PSG) na huwag magsalita kung sakaling ipatatawag ang grupo sa pagdinig sa Kongreso.

Ayon kay NBI Spokesperson Atty Ferdinand Lavin, hindi taliwas sa pahayag ng pangulo ang pagpapatuloy ng kanilang imbestigasyon dahil hindi naman ito naka-sentro lang sa ginawang na pagpapabakuna ng PSG.

Aniya, layon ng pagsisiyasat na usisain ang mga ulat sa umano’y importasyon, pagbebenta, at pagsasagawa ng COVID-19 vaccination nang walang pahintulot mula sa pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Noong araw ng Lunes nang matanggap ng NBI ang atas mula sa Department of Justice (DOJ) hinggil sa imbestigasyon at hindi ito ititigil hangga’t hindi ipag-uutos ni Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Ayon kay Lavin, makikipag-ugnayan sila kay PSG commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante para sa detalye hinggil sa pagpapabakuna ng kanyang mga tauhan, pati na sa civic leader na si Teresita Ang See kaugnay naman ng ibinunyag nitong marami nang Chinese nationals na nagtatrabaho sa offshore gaming operations ang nakatanggap ng bakuna kontra COVID-19.

Sakop aniya ng gagawing pagsisiyasat ng NBI na alamin kung paano nangyari at sino ang nasa likod ng pagbabakuna, at kung sinu-sino ang tumanggap nito. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

DOH, FDA to tap PRC in determining liability of doctors involved in unregistered vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it will coordinate with the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) in relation to the investigation on doctors involved in the administration of unregistered vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they will be working with the PRC in determining the possible liability of medical professionals who participated in unauthorized COVID-19 vaccination.

Vergeire also stressed that the unauthorized inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine to some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) is now being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that the response of concerned agencies will depend on the agency’s findings.

“The FDA and DOH is also would be coordinating with the Philippine Regulatory Commission para nga doon sa mga involved professionals na sinasabing pagbibigay nitong unregistered vaccine na ito,” she said.

The vaccination of some PSG members came to light after President Rodrigo Duterte revealed last week that some military men had already received a COVID-19 vaccine.

PSG commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante had confirmed that his unit obtained the vaccine but refused to disclose its source. He also clarified that the president was only informed of their move after the fact.

Durante also stressed that their decision to inoculate some members sans the FDA approval is based on their mission to protect the president’s health and safety.

The PSG drew both criticisms and support from various quarters over the issue, while the Palace lauded the group’s bravery in taking unregistered and possibly smuggled vaccines.

But for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the incident is now being investigated by the FDA, as well as by the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Customs.

“Nire-respeto po natin ang mga opinyon ng sinoman at ang mahalaga po rito ay kung ano po ang kakalabasan ng imbestigasyon na ginagawa ng FDA,” he said.

“Huwag po natin pangunahan ang anomang resulta na ilalabas ng FDA, NBI at Bureau of Customs sa naturang imbestigasyon… Sila po ang lead agency patungkol sa imbestigasyon na binanggit ko,” he added.

The DOH, meanwhile, urged local government units to coordinate with the agency and strictly observe protocols in rolling out their respective COVID-19 vaccination programs.

“So that we can have a unified effort at hindi tayo magkaroon ng technicalities and also we can be able to monitor as well.  We have to remember the National Immunization Program rests on the mandate of the Department of Health,” Vergeire said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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