PH gov’t to allot 7 million COVID-19 vax booster shots for priority sectors – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021   •   169

MANILA, Philippines – At least 7 million doses will be allotted for the booster shots of healthcare workers, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly against COVID-19, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

In a statement, Galvez said two million of these shots will be given to healthcare workers while the remaining 5 million will be allotted to individuals with co-morbidity and senior citizens.

“Sa healthcare workers, we will allot more or less 2 million doses and we have enough doses for them. Regardless of brand, mayroon po tayo na nakatabi,” he said.

“And then for the immunocompromised and elderly, we will be requiring 5 million, and we also have enough doses with the succeeding deliveries,” he added.

Galvez, who also serves as the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said they are now preparing for the rollout of the booster shots following the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).

Based on HTAC’s recommendation, the booster shots should be given within the fourth quarter of the year to health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks who received the jabs at least six months after the primary series.

The HTAC also recommended that the boosters should be based on the vaccine brands received by the individuals in the primary series.

The HTAC also pushed for the implementation of boosters for other eligible population in 2022 only if the A1 to A5 priority groups reach 50 percent in the primary series.

 The council also recommended the administration of a third vaccine shot for priority sectors.

While the government is waiting for the amendment of the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines to be used as booster shots, as well as the review from the DOH All Experts Group, Galvez said the NTF has started to secure supplies for the said priority groups.

The administration of booster shots may begin by November depending on the month a healthcare worker or immunocompromised was vaccinated, he added.

Individuals under these categories who were vaccinated in March, April, and May will be qualified to receive the booster shots.

Galvez said around three million individuals are expected to belong to this priority group.

PH gov’t tracing 253 passengers from Africa amid looming threat of Omicron

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is tracing and monitoring more than 200 travelers who arrived in the country from African nations in the last two weeks amid the threat of new COVID-19 variant called Omicron, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have traced a total of 253 passengers from South Africa who arrived in the Philippines from November 15 to 29.

“BOQ has started to locate these passengers,” Vergeire said in a virtual press forum.

Of the 253 passengers, 249 were returning overseas Filipinos and four were foreigners. Authorities have traced 71 of these individuals.

The number includes three foreigners still in quarantine in Western Visayas after yielding negative test results.

Vergeire said three of these passengers initially tested positive for COVID-19. One passenger came from South Africa, another from Burkina Faso, and the other from Egypt.

She said samples of these travelers may undergo genome sequencing for variant identification.

“We are still processing the batch that we are going to subject to whole genome sequencing for this week. Results might be tonight or maybe tomorrow,” she said.

“Meron pong dumating na 253 from South Africa noong Nov. 15 to 29, may tatlo galing Burkina Faso; and mayroon 541 galing Egypt. Each of these countries nagkaroon ng isang traveler who tested positive for COVID-19,” she added.

The Philippine government banned the entry of travelers – except for Filipino repatriates – from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy until December 15 as a precautionary measure against the Omicron variant.

The DOH said the heavily mutated variant and potentially more infectious than other coronavirus variants have now been detected in 35 countries.

The variant was first discovered in South Africa.

It has been designated as a variant of concern but the World Health Organization said further studies are needed to better understand the variant’s effect on vaccines, treatment, and the virus’ transmissibility.

Over 90 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs administered in PH – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has administered over 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since the government rolled out the immunization drive in March, Malacañang said Friday.

Citing the December 2 data from the National COVID-19 Vaccination dashboard, acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said a total of 90,259,621 doses have been administered nationwide.

Of said figure, 48.42 percent or 37.3 million individuals have been fully vaccinated, he added.

The total included some 52.4 million first doses and 432,301 booster doses.

The government aims to vaccinate 54 million by the end of 2021 and up to 70 million by March 2022 to attain population protection against COVID-19.

In a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate, the government launched a three-day mass vaccination campaign, which initially aimed to vaccinate 9 million.

The campaign covered at least 8 million individuals in three days. The Department of Health earlier said this figure is expected to go up as reports continue to come in.

Meanwhile, the government also announced that the expanded rollout of the administration of booster shots for all fully vaccinated individuals aged 18 and above has started on Friday.

This program includes the Phase 2 rollout of the booster and additional doses for priority group A3 (persons with comorbidities), Nograles said.

Tandaan natin na importanteng magpabakuna sa gitna ng banta ng Omicron variant,” he said.

“Sa milyun-milyong nabakunahan na mga Pilipino, 99%+++ ay walang naramdaman na adverse reaction, o kung mayroon man, mild lamang po ito. Wala pong namatay na direktang may kaugnayan sa COVID-19 vaccine jab,” he added.

8 million people immunized vs COVID-19 in PH mass vaccination drive – NVOC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – At least 8 million individuals out of the 9 million target vaccinees were vaccinated against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the three-day mass vaccination drive, the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who chairs the NVOC, said a total of 2,709,344 COVID-19 shots were administered on the first day of the campaign; 2,475,479 on day 2; and 2,829,928 on Wednesday.

Based on current data, the running total of administered doses was at 8,014,751 as of 6 a.m. Friday.

Cabotaje said the figure is expected to increase when reports from local government units come in.

The NVOC chair said the top performing regions in terms of the number of jabs administered were Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas.

“Together, they have accounted for about a third of the 8 million jabs that have been produced during the three days,” she said in a televised public briefing.

Provinces with the highest vaccination outputs during the three-day drive were Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Cavite.

Authorities initially aimed to inoculate at least 9 million individuals during the three-day vaccination drive from November 29 to December 1.

The vaccination program has been extended until Friday.

Another round of nationwide immunization against COVID-19 will be held from December 15 to 17.

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