Duterte dares Robredo to get COVID-19 shot first: ‘Siya ang apurado, siya ang mauna’

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021   •   615

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dared Vice President Leni Robredo to get vaccinated first against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) now that China’s Sinovac vaccine has finally arrived in the country.

“Siya man ‘yong apurado, siya ang mauna,” the President said of Robredo during the turn-over of the Sinovac vaccine at Pasay City on Sunday (February 28).

This was the President’s response to the call of Robredo for him to get vaccinated first to boost public confidence in the government’s vaccination efforts.

He said Robredo is more qualified to get vaccinated as she is younger than him.

“Ako, I cannot just decide. She’s young, I am not. I have to defer to my doctor,” the President said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the use of Sinovac vaccine to individuals who are fit and healthy, aged 18 to 59.

According to President Duterte, his doctors are recommending a different brand and he already requested a personal supply of a certain brand of vaccine which he opted not to disclose the name.

“Ako, nanghingi ako personal. Wala silang stock. Nanghingi ako para sa pamilya ko pati sa akin,” he said.

“I don’t know if we would have enough vaccines for everybody. But I think I can accommodate the Cabinet members,” he added.

Malacañang had earlier announced that the President prefers to use the COVID-19 vaccine from Sinopharm which is another brand from China. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte won’t compromise on quarantine protocols for returning OFWs

Marje Pelayo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not comfortable with relaxing quarantine and testing protocols for arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

During Wednesday’s (April 21) public address, the President noted that less stringent measures could compromise the entire country as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

“I’m not quite comfortable with the relaxation that’s being brought now,” he said.

“I am not ready for a compromise lalo na ngayon. ‘Yung ibang sakit siguro, pwede pa – iyong mga rabies. Pero ito, talagang … as I have said, dapo rito, dapo roon,” he added.

The meeting which included health experts was in response to the appeal of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for an immediate swab test on OFWs upon arrival and a shortening of the quarantine period or their stay in hotels or isolation facilities.

“Kaya nga po kami nakikiusap sana, na kung maaari, ay we go back to the original protocol noon na pagdating ng ating OFWs, swab kaagad sila,” Bello said.

The medical experts recommended a review of the testing protocol but insisted that the implementation of strict quarantine measures is still best to be strictly enforced at this time.

“The [Technical Advisory Group] had some preliminary discussions po regarding the current issue, and we were thinking that based on the data that we have right now, it’s a better option to review the testing protocol,” said DOH-TAG member Dr. Anna Ong-Lim.

“We recommend that it be done at a later time, but the critical intervention should really be that quarantine should be strictly enforced,” she concluded.

PH ready to handle Sputnik V vax storage requirements, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday assured that the Philippines is ready to receive and store Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Insitute.

The Philippine envoy to Russia earlier said that an initial batch of 20,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccine is expected to arrive in the Philippines within the next few days.

An additional shipment of nearly 500,000 doses will be delivered before the end of April or early May.

Sputnik V vaccine needs to be stored at a specified temperature.

“Meron tayong handa na storage and distribution system when it comes to other vaccines that will require this kind of storage temperature,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online briefing.

“Napaghandaan na natin yan mula’t mula pa at ating inihahanda ngayon ang ating gagawin,” she added.

Unlike Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines that only require regular refrigeration temperature, Sputnik V has liquid and powder forms that have specified storage temperature requirements.

The liquid form requires storage at -18 degrees Celsius while the powdered form at the regular 2 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature.

“Itong Gamaleya vaccine, may konting technical requirement na kailangan talagang carefully maiayos natin kasi meron siyang powder form at liquid form,” Vergeire said.

“Yung liquid form may handling na specified, yung powder form may handling na specified. So ito pong lahat ay napaghandaan na,” she added.

Vergeire also said that the government’s logistics teams are currently conducting simulations to avoid any issues in receiving Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Handa ang ating gobyerno. Handa ang ating sistema para mareceive natin ang mga ganitong bakuna with this kind of temperature storage,” she reiterated.

DICT vaccine information system aims to expedite COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has underscored the importance of the Vaccine Information and Management System (VIMS) in the government’s vaccination rollout for COVID-19.

On Wednesday (April 21), DICT Usec. Manny Caintic said VIMS aims to expedite the monitoring and tracking of the supply and distribution of vaccines throughout the country.

Caintic said health professionals can also use VIMS in monitoring vaccination centers during rollout.

Ang VIMS ay magiging single source of truth para sa lahat ng impormasyon patungkol sa pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19 (VIMS will serve as the single source of truth for all information on vaccination against COVID-19),” he said.

He also assured data privacy will be implemented and any personal information of a vaccinated individual will not be leaked.

The DICT official also said the data from LGUs is vital in VIMS.  He urged LGUs to submit requirements for VIMS to track its vaccine distribution for the vaccination information system.

The deadline given to the DICT for VIMS rollout in the National Capital Region LGUs is set until end-April, while the deadline for the VIMS in LGUs outside NCR was set until the end of May. AAC

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