Mayor Isko orders probe vs. nurse involved in illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccine

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2021   •   520

MANILA, Philippines – Manila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso has ordered the management of Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center (GABMMC) to file administrative charges against a nurse tagged in the unlawful sale of COVID-19 vaccines.

The nurse, identified as Alexis Francisco De Guzman, was arrested during an entrapment operation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Quezon City.

Domagoso met with the hospital chief Dr. Ted Martin on Friday (July 2) and ordered him to file appropriate charges against De Guzman.

The Mayor stressed that the Manila City government’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines are “strictly regulated” and “highly controlled” by the Manila Health Department (MHD).

Based on investigation by the local government, those COVID-19 vaccines sold by De Guzman were not sourced from the inventory of the MHD.

Dr. Martin in a statement said that “such unlawful acts of Mr De Guzman have no place in the City of Manila and this institution.”

“While it is truly unfortunate that one of our own was involved in such illegal activities, this hospital and its management do not condone the acts of Mr. De Guzman,” he said.

“His actions have placed the name of this institution in a bad light and we are very willing to cooperate with any investigating authority regarding such matter,” he added.

Dr. Martin also noted that De Guzman has never been involved nor transacted with the hospital’s Pharmacy Section regarding the transport, handling and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

Domagoso reminded the public that sale of COVID-19 vaccines for gain or profit is strictly banned in the city.

City Ordinance No. 8740 signed by Domagoso protects the general public from any person who will take advantage of the pandemic by unlawfully selling COVID-19 vaccines.

NVOC assures no COVID-19 vaccines destroyed due to recent storms

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Vaccinations Operations Center (NVOC) on Monday assured that no COVID-19 vaccines were affected in the onslaught of two storms, Jolina and Kiko, that barrelled through the country last week.

In a televised briefing, NVOC representative Dr. Kezia Rosario said the COVID-19 vaccine shots were transported temporarily to provincial health offices for safekeeping in areas affected by the storms.

Rosario also said that even cold chain storage facilities housing the vaccines were safe.

 “Lahat ng bakuna natin during the time of the bagyo were safe po at na-store po siya properly at hindi po tayo nagkaroon ng excursion sa temperature nito. So they are still effective and puwede pa po siyang ibigay sa mga vaccinees natin,” she said.

During the onslaught of Jolina, at least 19 municipalities in the Bicol region suspended vaccination operations while 49 areas in the Eastern Visayas region stopped the inoculation process.

At least three towns in Cagayan Valley also halted their vaccine rollouts due to Typhoon Kiko.

Rosario, however, said that the vaccination operations in the said areas have since resumed when the skies cleared.

The NVOC has yet to get an update on the vaccination rollout in Batanes that was battered by Kiko over the weekend.

“We do not have any updates pa po kung ilan iyong municipalities ng Batanes. But as of now, we know that all of the vaccines were transported doon sa provincial health offices for storage for the time being. And iyong sa Itbayat na vaccines, it was also transported sa district hospital nila for the time being,” she said.

The NVOC official assured that they have prepared response plans during calamities to ensure the safety of the vaccine supply.

“We also have rolled out ‘no and enforced iyong pag-establish ng mga vaccine security teams not only in the National Vaccine Operations Center kung hindi po sa Regional Vaccine Operations Center natin at saka sa Local Vaccine Operations Center,” she said.

“Sila po ay mag-i-ensure that bago pa man dumating ang bagyo nakahanda na po lahat ng preparations para maprotektahan natin iyong cold chain at saka ma-maintain natin iyong temperature ng mga vaccines natin. Kung kailangan sila i-transport immediately, gagawin po iyon,” she added.

Generators are also on standby in case of power interruptions that may affect cold storage facilities.

“And also, na-orient na po iyong mga vaccination teams natin that once the bagyo ay matapos na po ay ma-ensure nila that they can resume the vaccination activities immediately at saka mabigay nila iyong mga bakuna immediately,” Rosario said.

Pahayag nina VP Leni at Mayor Isko vs administrasyong Duterte, pamumulitika lang — Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   September 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Naniniwala ang Malakanyang na pamumulitika lang ang ginagawang pagtuligsa nina Vice President Leni Robredo at Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso sa COVID-19 response ng pamahalaang Duterte.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, nagpapahayag ng pagkontra sa administrasyong Duterte sina Robredo at Domagoso dahil may balak ang mga ito na sumabak sa halalan sa susunod na taon.

“Kaibigan ko po itong si Yorme ‘no. Pero gaya po ni VP, eh kandidato rin po iyan,” ani Roque.

“Mark my word, hindi pa po nag-aanunsiyo iyan pero sigurado po ako kandidato kaya asahan natin itong mga ganitong salita ‘no dahil kinakailangan nilang ligawan ang mamamayan,” dagdag pa niya.

Una nang sinabi ni Mayor Isko na dapat unahin ng pamahalaan ang pagbili ng mga gamot laban sa COVID-19 sa halip na face shield.

Habang kinuwestiyon naman ni Robredo ang pinakahuling hakbang ng pamahalaan na luwagan ang travel restrictions sa sampung bansa sa gitna ng mataas pa ring kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

PH gov’t to send more COVID-19 vaccine shots to provinces – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Other regions will soon be getting bigger allocations of COVID-19 vaccines as part of efforts to address supply inequity and increase the vaccination rate among provinces, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.

Galvez said the distribution of more vaccine shots to other provinces will be implemented under the government’s recalibrated deployment strategy.

 “We have already started to employ a new strategy in supply allocation wherein the primary consideration is given to the number of unvaccinated individuals per region or local government unit,” said Galvez, who also serves as chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19.

Through this new approach, Galvez believes that the NTF will be able to strike a balance between the number of unvaccinated individuals per region, their respective target population, and the number of doses in the country’s supply inventory.

“Sa ngayon, ang prayoridad na ay sa ating mga rehiyon so they can start expanding their vaccine rollout to priority groups A1 until A5,” he added.

According to Galvez, the move is also in response to the request of some local chief executives for bigger allocation as their vaccination program has been limited to the priority sectors of healthcare workers, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities, while other cities in the country have already started inoculating their essential workers and indigenous people.

Galvez earlier said that the country is expecting to receive 25 million vaccine doses for the month of September.

The bulk of this supply will be deployed to Regions 1, 3, 4A, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, and BARMM.

The vaccine czar said that the vaccine supply to be deployed in high-risk cities and municipalities will be directly shipped to them and will not be included in the batches sent to the provinces.

“This mechanism will be more efficient because those areas with high economic and social risks will be able to receive their allocation immediately and inoculate their constituents at a faster rate,” Galvez said.

The National Capital Region, which has fully vaccinated 45.51% of its target population, will receive a smaller allocation this September, he added.

Meanwhile, Galvez bared that preparations are now underway for the second wave of procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Patapos na ‘yung first wave ng procurement natin, which is our supply for this year. We have already an assured supply of 187.6 million doses from various sources kaya maliban sa pagsiguro sa maagang deliveries ng mga bakunang ito, pinaghahandaan na rin natin ang pagbili ng mga bakuna na kabilang sa mga second generation of vaccines,” he said.

He said that an initial budget of USD45 million has been earmarked for this second wave of vaccine purchases.

The Philippines has so far received 52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers since February.

As of August 31, a total of 33,706,295 doses have been administered in the country – over 19.7 million have received their first dose while 13.9 million have been fully vaccinated.

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