WHO backs 3rd COVID-19 vaccine shot for elderlies, immunocompromised

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2021   •   156

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday expressed support to proposals seeking to administer a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to immunocompromised people who were not able to develop full immunity after receiving two doses.

WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said they are advocating for a third dose for immunocompromised individuals as an extended primary vaccination course.

Senior citizens who also received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine made either by Sinovac or Sinopharm should also be given a third shot of the same vaccine brand.

“Our recommendation is that in addition to immunocompromised individuals, that we include all individuals who have received primary vaccination of two doses with Sinovac or Sinopharm to receive a third dose provided it’s more than 3 months since the completion of their first 2 doses,” he said.

“We don’t have a recommendation for general population,” he added.

The Philippine government has yet to decide on the issue of giving a booster shot but it earlier said it has allocated a budget for its procurement next year.

Rollout ng 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose, pinaghahandaan na – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Tiniyak ng Department of Health (DOH) na pinaghahandaan na nito ang roll out ng ikatlong dose ng COVID-19 vaccine para sa mga health worker (A1), senior citizen (A2) at immunocompromised individuals (A3).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, ang hakbang na ito ay batay sa rekomendasyon ng Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization ng World Health Organization (WHO) na pagbibigay ng dagdag na COVID-19 vaccine shot sa mga nabanggit na grupo na tumanggap ng Sinovac at Sinopharm brands.

Ngunit para maisagawa ito, sinabi ni Vergeire na kailangang maamyendahan ang emergency use authorization ng mga bakuna sa bansa na ang nakasaad na dosing regimen ay dalawa lamang, at isa naman para sa Janssen vaccine.

“Mangyayari lang po iyan kapag nakapaglabas ang Food and Drug Administration ng emergency use authority. Kung matatandaan natin, ang EUA natin para sa mga bakunang meron tayo ay para lang sa pirimary series natin. Ibig sabihin, dalawang doses for most of the vaccine, and sa isang bakua natin Janssen, it’s just one dose, to get fully vaccinated,” ani Vergeire.

Ipinaliwanag rin ng DOH ang kaibahan ng third dose sa booster dose ng bakuna.

Ani Vergeire, ang third dose ay ibinibigay para sa grupo o populasyon ng mga taong mataas ang risk ng infection at walang sapat na immunity kaya nangangailangan sila ng isa pang dosing regimen ng kanilang natanggap na bakuna.

“Third dose, ito ay ibinibigay as part of the primary series. Kung matatandaan niyo in our list of vaccines that we currently use katulad ng Hepatitis B at iba pa nating bakuna, tatlong doses sila,” paliwanag ni Vergeire.

“As the evidence grow further na nabigyan ng kumpletong ebidensya, naipakita ng bakuna na kapag binigyan ng third dose mas nabo-boost ang immune response ng tao and that is the additional dose,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang booster dose naman ay ibinibigay ilang buwan pagkatapos ng primary dosing kapag bumaba na ang immunity ng isang nabakunahan nito.

“When we talk about boosters, itong nakareceive na ng primary series ng bakuna, ibig sabihin fully vaccinated na at naka-receive na ng dalawang dose o di kaya Janssen ang nakuha mo naka-receive ka na ng isang dose,” ani Vergeire.

Hanggang ngayon aniya ay pinag-aaralan pa ng mga eksperto ang pagbibigay ng booster shot.

Wala rin pang rekomendasyon ang WHO ukol rito lalo’t limitado pa rin ang supply ng COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO supports downgrading of NCR COVID-19 curbs

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday expressed support to the Philippine government’s decision to ease restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“With high vaccination rate in Metro Manila, we believe that we need to adjust and calibrate the restrictions,” said WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe.

“We support the granular lockdowns, we support the easing of restrictions,” he added.

From COVID-19 Alert Level 4, the capital region will shift to Alert Level 3 from October 16 to 31 amid decreasing infection rate.

Under level 3, businesses will be allowed to operate at a higher capacity.

The alert level system, which was first tested in mid-September, is being implemented in the region with granular lockdowns in areas with a high transmission rate.

Abeyasinghe said easing COVID-19 curbs will spur economic activities but he called on local governments to ensure that access to testing is maintained.

He also urged the public to follow health protocols, even those who are already fully vaccinated, and to immediately go on quarantine if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

WHO forms new group to probe origins of coronavirus, emerging pathogens

Robie de Guzman   •   October 14, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its newly formed group of experts that will study the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, including SARS-CoV-2 virus.

 In a statement, the WHO said the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) will advise the body on the development of a global framework to define and guide studies into the origins of coronavirus and other pathogens.

“The emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and while SARS-CoV-2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said.

“Understanding where new pathogens come from is essential for preventing future outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential, and requires a broad range of expertise. We are very pleased with the calibre of experts selected for SAGO from around the world, and look forward to working with them to make the world safer,” he added.

Aside from advising the WHO on the development of a framework in defining and guiding studies on pathogens, the SAGO will also have the following functions:

  • To advise WHO on prioritizing studies and field investigations into the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic and pandemic potential, in accordance with the WHO global framework described above;
  • To provide information and views to assist the WHO Secretariat in the development of a detailed work plan of the SAGO;
  • In the context of SARS-CoV-2 origins: To provide the WHO Secretariat with an independent evaluation of all available scientific and technical findings from global studies on the origins of SARS-CoV-2;
  • To advise the WHO Secretariat regarding developing, monitoring and supporting the next series of studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, including rapid advice on WHO’s operational plans to implement the next series of global studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, as outlined in the Joint WHO-China Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2: China Part report published on 30 March 2021 and advise on additional studies as needed; and
  • To provide additional advice and support to WHO, as requested by the WHO SAGO Secretariat, which may include participation in future WHO-international missions to study the origins of SARS-CoV-2 or for other emerging pathogens.

The WHO chief said they have named the 26 proposed members of SAGO who have expertise in a range of areas, including epidemiology, animal health, ecology, clinical medicine, virology, genomics, molecular epidemiology, molecular biology, biology, food safety, biosafety, biosecurity, and public health.

As per WHO processes, he said there will now be a two-week public consultation period for WHO to receive feedback on the proposed SAGO members and set in place the modalities for the SAGO’s first meeting, which is planned to take place following this consultation period.

The final membership to the SAGO is subject to the above-mentioned public consultation period and relevant WHO practices and procedures, he added.

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