More Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses arrive in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021   •   255

MANILA, Philippines – More COVID-19 vaccines procured by the government from the US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer-BioNTech have been delivered to the Philippines, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

The NTF said that a total of 728,910 doses of Pfizer vaccines arrived in the country on Thursday night.

From this batch, 677,430 doses arrived at the NAIA Terminal 3 and were sent to the Pharmaserv cold storage facility in Marikina City, while 51,480 doses were first dropped off in Cebu.

The remaining 92,430 doses will be flown to Davao on Friday.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the country is expecting to receive the bulk of COVID-19 vaccines this October, particularly those coming from Pfizer.

“We would like to thank the US government for providing us access to Western vaccines, at the same time, providing us with more than 10 million fresh donations of Pfizer vaccines,” he said in a statement.

Brett Blackshaw, counselor for political affairs of the US State Department cited the strong cooperation between the Philippines and United States in the global fight against the pandemic.

“We are pleased to see this delivery of over half a million US-made vaccines to the Philippines. We are in this COVID fight together, the Philippine people, the American people – people around the world and every one of these vaccines as Pres. Biden said yesterday is a little dose of hope,” he said.

Nearly 11 million doses of procured and donated Pfizer vaccines doses have been delivered to the country.

Aside from the 10 million donated Pfizer shots, the NTF said that the Philippines is also set to receive additional doses from the 500 million doses pledged by the United States government to low-income countries.

“Yesterday, [President Joe] Biden already announced that they will be giving 500 million of Pfizer and we were informed that the Philippines will be part of the low-income and [middle] income countries that will be given the fresh donations of Pfizer vaccines.” Galvez said.

A total of 66,699,340 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various manufacturers have been delivered to the country since February.

The Philippine government is looking to expand its target COVID-19 vaccination coverage to include 90% of the country’s population due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for minors set for Nov. 3 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccination among children will begin on Nov. 3, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the DOH said it will implement the national rollout for minors aged 12 to 17 years old with co-morbidity with the government’s vaccine cluster.

“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will still be used among children during the nationwide rollout,” said DOH Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

“Further details and the guidelines with regard to the nationwide expansion of pediatric vaccination will be released once finalized,” she added.

The DOH said that as of Oct. 26, a total of 18,666 minors with comorbidities received their first dose of vaccine during the initial phase of the pediatric vaccination in the NCR.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17 in 2021.

Meanwhile, the DOH continues to urge the adult population, especially those belonging to priority groups A2 and A3, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to achieve the cocoon effect, which protects the children at home.

The department further emphasized that “choosing to get vaccinated will not only protect the person itself but also those around, along with the strict and religious adherence to minimum public health standards and other preventive measures implemented.”

The National Task Force against COVID-19 earlier said that the national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez also said that vaccinating children against coronavirus disease will also be instrumental in the reopening of face-to-face classes and ‘ancillary businesses’ related to the education sector.

He also said that allowing children to have “leeway to move around and play” will not just help in protecting the mental well-being of minors, but also revive economic activities especially this holiday season.

PH gov’t to allot 7 million COVID-19 vax booster shots for priority sectors – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – At least 7 million doses will be allotted for the booster shots of healthcare workers, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly against COVID-19, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

In a statement, Galvez said two million of these shots will be given to healthcare workers while the remaining 5 million will be allotted to individuals with co-morbidity and senior citizens.

“Sa healthcare workers, we will allot more or less 2 million doses and we have enough doses for them. Regardless of brand, mayroon po tayo na nakatabi,” he said.

“And then for the immunocompromised and elderly, we will be requiring 5 million, and we also have enough doses with the succeeding deliveries,” he added.

Galvez, who also serves as the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19, said they are now preparing for the rollout of the booster shots following the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).

Based on HTAC’s recommendation, the booster shots should be given within the fourth quarter of the year to health workers, the elderly, and persons with health risks who received the jabs at least six months after the primary series.

The HTAC also recommended that the boosters should be based on the vaccine brands received by the individuals in the primary series.

The HTAC also pushed for the implementation of boosters for other eligible population in 2022 only if the A1 to A5 priority groups reach 50 percent in the primary series.

 The council also recommended the administration of a third vaccine shot for priority sectors.

While the government is waiting for the amendment of the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines to be used as booster shots, as well as the review from the DOH All Experts Group, Galvez said the NTF has started to secure supplies for the said priority groups.

The administration of booster shots may begin by November depending on the month a healthcare worker or immunocompromised was vaccinated, he added.

Individuals under these categories who were vaccinated in March, April, and May will be qualified to receive the booster shots.

Galvez said around three million individuals are expected to belong to this priority group.

9,928 children with health risks vaccinated vs COVID-19 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The number of minors with co-morbidities who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 has reached 9,928, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that ten among the minors experienced reactions to the vaccines.

“Tatlong mga bata ay nagkaroon ng allergic reactions but were all managed. Tatlo po ay nagkaroon ng anxiety-related reactions, at ‘yung apat po mga minor lang po, masakit po mga vaccination site,” she said.

“So far, wala pa po tayong serious at adverse reactions that were noted. But of course, we are still monitoring these children,” she added.

Vergeire assured that children who were inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine will be continuously monitored.

“Katulad ng sabi natin, hindi lang natatapos ang monitoring namin pagkatapos lang ng bakunahan. We will monitor them this whole month para makita natin if there will still be other reactions na mangyayari,” she said.

The COVID-19 vaccination for the pediatric population was launched on Oct. 15 in eight hospitals in Metro Manila.

It was then expanded to 13 more hospitals and facilities when the DOH rolled out the program’s second phase on Oct. 22.

Vergeire said they consider the vaccination program a success and assured that the process has been orderly.

Should the two phases of the pediatric vaccination be successful, the campaign will be expanded to other regions.

“So ‘yan po ay pinagplaplanuhan, pinag-uusapan na at magbibigay tayo ng information in the coming days,” Vergeire said.

The following medical conditions would make children aged 12 to 17 years old eligible for vaccination against COVID-19:

  • Medical complexity
  • Genetic conditions
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic/endocrine
  • Obesity
  • HIV infection
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Renal disorder
  • Hepatobillary

Vergeire earlier said that children participating in the pilot COVID-19 vaccination program should be well-informed and must get clearance from their physicians.

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