PH signs indemnification deal with COVID-19 vaccine makers Pfizer, AstraZeneca

Robie de Guzman   •   February 17, 2021   •   707

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has signed an indemnification agreement to speed up the negotiations and deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines from US drug maker Pfizer and UK’s AstraZeneca, an official leading the government’s vaccination plan said Wednesday.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government has submitted the agreement to the COVAX Facility for the initial batch of COVID-19 vaccine shots.

The COVAX Facility is a global alliance seeking to help poor countries vaccinate their population against the deadly coronavirus.

An indemnification clause refers to the agreement reached between stakeholders identifying the party that would take responsibility in case those receiving the jabs experienced adverse side effects.

Such a deal is standard requirement for vaccine manufacturers, Galvez said.

“Ang gobyerno po ay nagga-guarantee na tayo po ang mag-ano ng responsibility just in case may severe adverse effect,” he said.

The Philippines is expecting to receive 5.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the first quarter from Pfizer and AstraZeneca under the COVAX facility.

Authorities earlier said that the arrival of an initial batch of 117,000 Pfizer vaccines under COVAX facility have hit a snag due to some issues in the processing of documents.

Aside from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the country also expects to receive this month its first 600,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

US gives P170M support for Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine deployment

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US) government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided P170 million or $3.5 million funds to support the Philippines in its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the US Embassy in Manila said Thursday.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law announced this during a visit to a vaccination site in Caloocan City with Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, and other U.S. and Philippine officials.

The embassy said the new assistance will support the Philippines in strengthening the vaccine supply chain, monitoring vaccine safety, and delivering effective communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy.

It will also support local government units as they plan for, track, and administer vaccines, it added.

“While the pandemic has tested our peoples and our economies, the strong bonds between Americans and Filipinos will help us rise above this challenge,” Law said.

“We will continue to fight this unprecedented global health crisis together,” he added.

The latest assistance fund brings the total U.S. government support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to nearly P1.3 billion ($27 million), the embassy said.

Meanwhile, the embassy further reported that the White House recently announced a P194 billion ($4 billion) commitment to support the COVAX facility.

COVAX Facility is a global initiative to support early vaccine access for 92 countries, including the Philippines.

An initial P97.2-billion ($2 billion) contribution, provided through USAID, is supporting the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the embassy said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 1.2 million vaccine doses out of the more than 3 million doses that were delivered in the country.

Government data showed that 1,093,651 people received their first shot while 162,065 individuals already got two doses since the vaccination program started on March 1.

 

Alamin: Bakit maari pa ring mahawa ang isang taong nabakunahan na laban sa COVID-19?

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Patuloy ang paalala ng Department of Health (DOH) sa publiko maging sa mga indibidwal na nakakumpleto na ng dalawang dosage ng COVID-19 vaccines na mag-ingat dahil posible pa rin silang mahawa ng virus.

Paliwanag ng DOH, patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ang pagiging epektibo ng bakuna at wala pang sapat na ebidensya kung kailan makukuha ng isang indibidwal ang ganap na proteksyon pagkatapos na makapagpabakuna.

Ayon sa DOH at maging ng mga vaccine expert, proteksyon sa pagkakaroon ng severe case ng coronavirus disease ang maibibigay ng mga COVID-19 vaccines sa ngayon at hindi ang immunity sa pagkakahawa sa virus.

“Ang sinasabi natin, lahat ng bakuna na available ngayon for EUA ay wala silang kapasidad para mag-block ng transmission. Ibig sabihin, kahit ikaw ay bakunado na even with your second dose you can still be infected and you can still infect others,” paliwanag ni Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Sa kasalukuyan, ilang bansa gaya ng Singapore at Japan ang nakapagtala na ng mga indibidwal na nahawa pa rin sa COVID-19 ilang araw pagkatapos na mabakunahan ng bakunang Pfizer-BionTech.

Kaya naman pinag-iingat pa rin ng DOH ang mga nakakumpleto na ng two dosage ng COVID-19 vaccines at sumunod pa rin sa health protocols dahil hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pang pinag-aaralan kung kailan makukuha ng isang indibidwal na nabakunahan ang ganap na proteksyon nito sa katawan.

“Wala pang lumalabas na sufficient evidence to state how much time does these vaccines give as protection. mayroon pailan-ilang studies lumalabas up to three months up to six months pero wala pa talagang sufficient na ebidensya at wala pa ring ibinibigay na rekomendasyon ang (World Health Organization),” ayon kay Vergeire.

Ngunit paliwanag ng mga vaccine expert, kung mahahawa man ang indibidwal na naka-kumpleto na ng COVID-19 vaccine, hindi naman ito magkakaroon ng severe cases ng sakit.

Base sa evaluation ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ang bakunang CoronaVac ng Sinovac ay may 100 percent efficacy rate laban sa pagkakaroon ng severe case; 50 percent laban sa mild cases; at 83 percent sa moderate cases.

Ang bakunang AstraZeneca naman ay may 100 percent efficacy rate upang protektahan ang isang indibidwal sa pagkakaroon ng moderate to severe cases ng COVID-19.

“Again I reiterate that it may not prevent you from getting an infection but it will suddenly prevent you from severe disease and death,” concluded Dr. Ruby Pawankar, president of the Asia Pacific Association of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology (APAAACI). MNP (sa ulat ni Harlene Delgado)

Galvez: 1.5 million doses of Sinovac, Gamaleya COVID-19 vaccines arriving this April

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac and Gamaleya Institute are expected to arrive in the country within this month, vaccine czar and National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

Galvez said one million of these vaccine doses will come from Sinovac and 500,000 would be from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

The first 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac are expected to be delivered on April 22 while the second batch will be on April 29.

Galvez noted that this is part of the commitment of Sinovac Biotech to deliver 1.5 million vaccine doses this month.

The other 500,000 doses were shipped last April 11.

There was no exact date given on the shipment of Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V vaccines, but Galvez assured that it will be delivered within this month.

The Philippines is also waiting for the arrival of additional AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility.

The WHO previously said that the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses for the Philippines has been delayed and that it will be lesser in number than expected, due to a global supply shortage.

Once additional vaccine doses arrive in the country, the national government is eyeing to begin the inoculation of economic frontliners by May and to intensify the vaccination drive in other COVID-19 hotspots in the Philippines.

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