PH gov’t eyes mental, social care program for COVID-19 survivors

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021   •   198

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to create an after-care program that would provide mental and social care for individuals who recovered from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the program aims to focus on the mental health of COVID-19 survivors amid stigma and discrimination.

“Plano po natin sa National Action Plan ang after-care ng COVID-19 [survivors] kasi nakita po talaga natin ang stigma sa COVID-19 napakataas,” he said in a Palace briefing.

“Maraming tumatawag sa atin, pami-pamilya ang nagbi-breakdown. There are many cases also na may suicide cases and this is a very serious problem,” he added.

“Ang nakita namin talaga sa National Action Plan, we will have an elaborate [program] on social healing and mental care para magkaroon ng tinatawag nating reconstruction at saka reconstitution ng mental care in terms ng stigma a binitawan ng COVID-19,” he added.

Galvez said they have talked to the experts to “explore” the program on further healing and social healing after the pandemic.

A total of 942,239 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the country as of April 29.

Survivors still need COVID-19 vaccine – Health Experts

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Antibodies produced by individuals after being infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are not enough to give them protection against reinfection, according to an infectious disease expert.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the government’s vaccine expert panel, said that COVID-19 survivors have only three to four months of protection brought by antibodies that they produced and that such may decrease after the said period.

Because of this, the health expert believes that COVID-19 survivors must still undergo vaccination against the said infectious disease.

“That is the reason why even if you have recovered and you have that antibody, you need a vaccine,” said Solante.

“Because the antibody produced by the vaccine more or less will maintain a level na mas higher doon sa antibody mo na nakuha noong naka recover ka,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) and other experts share the same recommendation.

“Kailangan pa rin magbakuna para na nabu-boost pa rin itong ang antibody production mo so you have a better immunity against this disease,” said Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“It’s very important because also we don’t know how long the antibodies will last and we don’t know the antibodies resulting from an infection was, is that being from immunization? So I would certainly recommend it,” noted Dr. Ruby Pawankar, President of the Asia Pacific Association of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology.

For his part, Dr. Stanley Fineman of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology said the vaccine can boost a person’s immune system against the virus and it will protect him from adverse effects.

“We had patients who had COVID, they had the illness. It’s still recommended to get the vaccine. We really go by the CDC recommendation,” Fineman said.

“I think it’s basically gonna boost your immune response even more. I don’t know that people have checked their antibodies specifically, but I know a number of patients who had active COVID and go on and got their vaccines even two doses. So it’s definitely recommended here to do that,” he added.

The Philippine Orthopedic Center, meanwhile, believes that vaccination has definitely helped protect its health workers from contracting COVID-19 anew.

“I think we can say na dahil nakapag bakuna kami dati, one month ago it has protected our health care workers,” noted POC’s OIC Dr. Michael Bengzon. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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