Cebu City to start vaccination on March 4 after receiving Sinovac jabs

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021   •   278

Cebu City is eyeing to begin its COVID-19 immunization program on Thursday, March 4, after receiving thousands of doses of CoronaVac vaccines developed by Chinese firm Sinovac.

Some 7,200 doses of Sinovac jabs donated by the Chinese government arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport at around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

The vaccines were then delivered to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City for storage.

More than 2,000 medical frontliners at the VSMMC initially registered for vaccination, but according to hospital chief, Dr. Gerard Aquino Jr., many of the vaccine recipients backed out after learning about the brand of the vaccine delivered.

“Initially we submitted the first, there are about 2,900 but lately kay siyempre, when we were informed nga lain ang brand so we have also to inform them,” Aquino said.

“So I think as of yesterday, we have 600 but it keeps on increasing kasi as of yesterday nakita naman nila (ang pagbakuna sa) mga health worker sa Manila,” he added.

Aquino also noted the importance of conducting information drive to increase public confidence and to prevent any misinformation about the vaccines.

“Plus, dapat we did some information campaign talaga kasi sad to say, meron talagang mga misinformation,” he said.

Aquino said he will be the first to receive the Sinovac jab to lead by example and dispel doubts on COVID-19 vaccination.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sinovac but did not recommend its use for health workers caring for COVID-19 patients due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4% based on clinical trials conducted in Brazil.

The Department of Health (DOH) previously stressed that the FDA’s recommendation on Sinovac was not a contraindication and that this does not prohibit healthcare workers from getting the Sinovac jab.

The DOH urged frontliners to take the available vaccine to give them protection against the virus.

The agency, however, stressed that medical frontliners will not be forced to take the shot and that they will not lose their priority status if they choose to decline the Sinovac vaccine shot.

The Philippine government on Monday formally rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program to several hospitals in Metro Manila after receiving the donated vaccine doses from China on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Ryan Mallari)

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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