Philippines to conduct real-world study on effects of COVID-19 vaccines — DOST

Robie de Guzman   •   May 25, 2021   •   1133

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is eyeing to conduct a study on the effects of vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a real-world setting, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Tuesday.

DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said the study will look into the vaccines’ efficacy, as well as seek answers to questions on its effects as determined by ethnicity and how long will it last on Filipinos.

Guevara said the study will include all vaccine brands available in the country. It is targeted to begin in June.

“Real-world data will answer questions on the effect on the ethnicity kasi Pilipino na ngayon iyong mga bakunado that’s one. Second, iyong pinakaimportanteng masagot, ano iyong efficacy niya over time? Kasi iyon wala pang masyadong mga sagot doon sa tanong na iyon kasi hindi pa tapos lahat ng Phase 3 trials ng lahat ng bakuna na ito, lahat sila naka-EUA pa,” she told reporters in a briefing.

The study will cost about P100 million and would need around 1,000 participants who have not received the vaccine by the time the trial starts.

Guevara said the study would follow participants for about a year to review the effect of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly on Filipinos.

The DOST official said the proposal was not yet final and still subject to approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Once approved and underway, the Philippines’ study on the vaccines’ effects in a real-world setting will be the latest to be done following studies undertaken by the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel, Indonesia, and Chile, among others.

The Philippines has so far administered more than 4 million doses since the government started its immunization program on March 1. COVID-19 vaccines used in the inoculation are Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sputnik V. RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Australia donates more oxygen concentrators to PH for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received another batch of oxygen concentrators from the Australian government as part of its continuing support to the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

In a statement, the NTF said the 100 oxygen concentrators arrived in Manila on Thursday.

The first batch of oxygen concentrators were delivered last August 28.

“Australia is increasing its commitment to the Philippines in terms of COVID-19 support, and we’re increasing our commitment by further [to] P433 million to make a grand total of P1.8 billion that Australia is donating to the Philippines,” Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said during a press conference following the turn-over.

The NTF said the first batch of the medical equipment was distributed to 27 hospitals across the country.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the donation is vital to the country’s clinical management of the country’s severe and critical COVID cases.

“This will go a long way in improving the quality of care that we provide our patients in the several hospitals that have been benefited by these pieces of equipment,” Duque added.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. thanked Australia for its compassion and generosity to the Filipino people.

“This life-saving oxygen concentrator will go a long way and a lot of people will be saved, thousands of them because of these concentrators,” Galvez said.

Aside from its donation of medical equipment and contribution to the COVAX facility, Australia, in partnership with UNICEF, will also provide over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.

The said vaccine donations are expected to arrive in the country by the fourth quarter of this year.

Brunei donates 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Around 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Brunei government to the Philippines  arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday.

The said shipment will be allotted for the vaccination of the general public, according to National Task Force against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa,

Herbosa expressed his gratitude to the government of Brunei on behalf of the Philippines for the vaccine donation.

As of October 20, a total of 91,548,620 COVID-19 vaccine doses from various manufacturers have arrived in the Philippines. AAC

Philippines, Malaysia to boost bilateral ties amid easing pandemic situation – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is looking to bolster its ties with Malaysia amid improving COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DFA said that the department’s Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Neal Imperial met with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman bin Muhammad last Oct. 18.

Among the things discussed by the two officials were initiatives seeking to revitalize the two nations’ relations across all areas amid easing coronavirus pandemic situation, it added.

“The two officials exchanged views and proposals on how to further boost bilateral trade and investment, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and roll out post-pandemic recovery initiatives, including the careful reopening of borders to gradually revitalize business and two-way tourism,” the DFA said.

The department said that both parties have also discussed counterterrorism cooperation, the promotion of moderate Islam in predominantly Muslim areas, as well as Malaysia’s support for the development of Mindanao.

The two officials also agreed to continue working together to further enhance Philippines-Malaysia bilateral ties, and explore the possibility of reconvening high-level bilateral meetings early next year.

Despite the effects of the pandemic, Malaysia remains one of the Philippines’ top trading partners and investment sources.

During their meeting, Imperial also conveyed the congratulations of the Philippine Government to Malaysia’s newly elected government, the DFA said.

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