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

Robie de Guzman   •   January 4, 2021   •   1514

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)

MMDA staff with comorbidities, elderly get COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday began the vaccination against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) of its personnel who are senior citizens and with comorbidities.

MMDA chairperson Benhur Abalos said around 200 employees belonging to the A2 (senior citizens) and A3 (with comorbidities) priority groups were administered with Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccine at the agency’s headquarters in Makati City.

Around 80 medical personnel of the MMDA were already vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday.

Abalos said the MMDA has a high infection rate among its personnel because they are among the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.

“Kaya, humingi kami ng tulong sa DOH (Department of Health) para mabakunahan ang ating mga frontliners, lalong lalo na ang aming traffic enforcers, ang mga nasa field,” he said.

The agency is targeting to fully inoculate all its 8,000 employees.

Abalos himself received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. His initial dose was given last March 1.

The MMDA has so far recorded a total of 771 COVID-19 infections with 100 active ones. About eight personnel succumbed to the disease. – RRD (with details from Correspondent JP Nuñez)

PH Vaccine expert panel to recommend vaccination of COVID-19 survivors 14 days after recovery

Robie de Guzman   •   April 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s vaccine expert panel (VEP) is set to recommend to the Department of Health (DOH) to shorten the waiting period before a person who tested positive for COVID-19 can be vaccinated.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the Vaccine Experts Panel, said the prescribed 90-day waiting time for the vaccination of those who recovered from the disease is “too long.”

He said they will suggest to the DOH to trim down the waiting period to 14 days or two weeks, stressing that the number of days must be counted starting on the day the person is cleared of the infection.

“Why will we wait for 90 days? Now, If you get the infection and you recovered, hindi ka na mag- wait ng 90 days, you give the vaccine when you are already asymptomatic and declared recovered,” he said.

“Ang guideline ngayon sa NITAG (National Immunization Technical Advisory Group), is that from recovery, maghintay tayo 2 weeks, it’s that period of time, not 90 days we just have to do it two weeks from naka-recover ang pasyente,” he added.

Solante added that they will also recommend to the DOH for all healthcare workers who received the first doses of the vaccine but still got infected with COVID-19 be given the second dose once they totally recovered.

The DOH earlier issued Department Memorandum 2021-0157 amending earlier vaccination guidelines which state that “individuals who became COVID-19 positive after receiving the first dose of vaccine, they should not be given the 2nd dose. For standardization and effective implementation of AEFI monitoring and causality investigation, vaccination can be restarted after 90 days with a new first dose of vaccine.”

The amended provision states that “all vaccine recipients who contracted COVID-19 after the first dose may be given the second dose provided a recommended interval of 14 days from recovery or completion of treatment are met, without restarting the vaccine dose schedule.”

As an infectious disease expert, Solante explained that the body needs several days between recovery and vaccination to ensure that the drugs are effective in protecting a person against severe diseases.

“Kapag meron kang active infection, kapag binakunahan ka, your vaccine will not work because your immune system is being stressed by that infection,” he said.

He also said the vaccine can be administered when the body is “not in particular stress.”

“The vaccine will work as long as you don’t have symptoms,” he said.

Solante also disclosed on Tuesday that the vaccine experts panel already gave a recommendation on whether Sinovac BioTech’s CoronaVac vaccine can be used on the elderly.

“At this point in time, we need the vaccine for those 60 years old and above. Ang available lang Sinovac or ang AstraZeneca,” he said.

“We just finished the recommendation the other day and hopefully, pino-forward na namin sa Department of Health regarding the use of Sinovac for more than 60 years old and above,” he said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 800,000 COVID-19 vaccine shots, mostly to healthcare workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities since the government rolled out the immunization program last March 1.

The government is targeting to inoculate 70 million people this year but the country has so far received 2.5 million doses due to the tight supply of vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

MPD arrests 6 Chinese, 3 Filipinos for fake certificate during COVID-19 vaccination

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila Police District (MPD) has arrested six Chinese nationals and three Filipinos for presenting fake medical certificates during vaccination for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Sunday (April 4), local authorities accosted the said individuals for their fake medical certificates during a vaccination rollout in Sergio Osmeña High School Gagalangin Tondo, Manila.

The police identified the six Chinese nationals as Shi Jialiang, 34 years old; Dong Cai Y Yang, 48 years old; Manuel Chan Y Ong, 49 years old; Jessebele Ong Chan Chua, 43 years old; Hong Hong Yi, and Hing Yuen. 

Meanwhile, the three Filipinos were identified as Aune Loresto, 19 years old; Jolina Deonila, 19 years old; and Deolita Malguita Jr., 27 years old.

Local authorities say the individuals were brought to Police Station 1 Investigation Section for proper disposition. AAC

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