PH gov’t to send more COVID-19 vaccine shots to provinces – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021   •   119

MANILA, Philippines – Other regions will soon be getting bigger allocations of COVID-19 vaccines as part of efforts to address supply inequity and increase the vaccination rate among provinces, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Galvez said the distribution of more vaccine shots to other provinces will be implemented under the government’s recalibrated deployment strategy.

 “We have already started to employ a new strategy in supply allocation wherein the primary consideration is given to the number of unvaccinated individuals per region or local government unit,” said Galvez, who also serves as chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19.

Through this new approach, Galvez believes that the NTF will be able to strike a balance between the number of unvaccinated individuals per region, their respective target population, and the number of doses in the country’s supply inventory.

“Sa ngayon, ang prayoridad na ay sa ating mga rehiyon so they can start expanding their vaccine rollout to priority groups A1 until A5,” he added.

According to Galvez, the move is also in response to the request of some local chief executives for bigger allocation as their vaccination program has been limited to the priority sectors of healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities, while other cities in the country have already started inoculating their essential workers and indigenous people.

Galvez earlier said that the country is expecting to receive 25 million vaccine doses for the month of September.

The bulk of this supply will be deployed to Regions 1, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, and BARMM.

The vaccine czar said that the vaccine supply to be deployed in high-risk cities and municipalities will be directly shipped to them and will not be included in the batches sent to the provinces.

“This mechanism will be more efficient because those areas with high economic and social risks will be able to receive their allocation immediately and inoculate their constituents at a faster rate,” Galvez said.

The National Capital Region, which has fully vaccinated 45.51% of its target population, will receive a smaller allocation this September, he added.

Meanwhile, Galvez bared that preparations are now underway for the second wave of procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Patapos na ‘yung first wave ng procurement natin, which is our supply for this year. We have already an assured supply of 187.6 million doses from various sources kaya maliban sa pagsiguro sa maagang deliveries ng mga bakunang ito, pinaghahandaan na rin natin ang pagbili ng mga bakuna na kabilang sa mga second generation of vaccines,” he said.

He said that an initial budget of USD45 million has been earmarked for this second wave of vaccine purchases.

The Philippines has so far received 52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers since February.

As of August 31, a total of 33,706,295 doses have been administered in the country – over 19.7 million have received their first dose while 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated.

Nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for minors set for Nov. 3 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccination among children will begin on Nov. 3, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DOH said it will implement the national rollout for minors aged 12 to 17 years old with co-morbidity with the government’s vaccine cluster.

“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will still be used among children during the nationwide rollout,” said DOH Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

“Further details and the guidelines with regard to the nationwide expansion of pediatric vaccination will be released once finalized,” she added.

The DOH said that as of Oct. 26, a total of 18,666 minors with comorbidities received their first dose of vaccine during the initial phase of the pediatric vaccination in the NCR.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17 in 2021.

Meanwhile, the DOH continues to urge the adult population, especially those belonging to priority groups A2 and A3, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to achieve the cocoon effect, which protects the children at home.

The department further emphasized that “choosing to get vaccinated will not only protect the person itself but also those around, along with the strict and religious adherence to minimum public health standards and other preventive measures implemented.”

The National Task Force against COVID-19 earlier said that the national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez also said that vaccinating children against coronavirus disease will also be instrumental in the reopening of face-to-face classes and ‘ancillary businesses’ related to the education sector.

He also said that allowing children to have “leeway to move around and play” will not just help in protecting the mental well-being of minors, but also revive economic activities especially this holiday season.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

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.

9,928 children with health risks vaccinated vs COVID-19 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The number of minors with co-morbidities who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 has reached 9,928, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that ten among the minors experienced reactions to the vaccines.

“Tatlong mga bata ay nagkaroon ng allergic reactions but were all managed. Tatlo po ay nagkaroon ng anxiety-related reactions, at ‘yung apat po mga minor lang po, masakit po mga vaccination site,” she said.

“So far, wala pa po tayong serious at adverse reactions that were noted. But of course, we are still monitoring these children,” she added.

Vergeire assured that children who were inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine will be continuously monitored.

“Katulad ng sabi natin, hindi lang natatapos ang monitoring namin pagkatapos lang ng bakunahan. We will monitor them this whole month para makita natin if there will still be other reactions na mangyayari,” she said.

The COVID-19 vaccination for the pediatric population was launched on Oct. 15 in eight hospitals in Metro Manila.

It was then expanded to 13 more hospitals and facilities when the DOH rolled out the program’s second phase on Oct. 22.

Vergeire said they consider the vaccination program a success and assured that the process has been orderly.

Should the two phases of the pediatric vaccination be successful, the campaign will be expanded to other regions.

“So ‘yan po ay pinagplaplanuhan, pinag-uusapan na at magbibigay tayo ng information in the coming days,” Vergeire said.

The following medical conditions would make children aged 12 to 17 years old eligible for vaccination against COVID-19:

  • Medical complexity
  • Genetic conditions
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic/endocrine
  • Obesity
  • HIV infection
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Renal disorder
  • Hepatobillary

Vergeire earlier said that children participating in the pilot COVID-19 vaccination program should be well-informed and must get clearance from their physicians.

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