Non-announcement of vaccine brands won’t take away a person’s right to information — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2021   •   448

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday defended its latest policy on the non-announcement of COVID-19 vaccine brands to be offered in vaccination sites to avoid crowding of those who preferred a particular brand of jab.

In a statement, the DOH said that not announcing what brand will be available in inoculation sites will “not take away the right of individuals to be informed of the vaccine they are taking.”

The department stressed that the vaccination process entails “on-site vaccine education, proper recording using vaccination cards, and monitoring for Adverse Events Following Immunization.”

The DOH issued the statement after it urged local government units (LGU) not to use vaccine brands in promoting their respective vaccination efforts following reports of people flocking vaccination sites after finding out that a specific brand of vaccine will be given there.

Earlier in the day, the Department of the Interior and Local Government also directed LGUs to stop announcing vaccine brands scheduled for distribution at vaccination sites.

The agency reiterated that all COVID-19 vaccines granted with emergency use authorization (UAE) by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are safe and effective.

“Before a vaccine can be issued with an EUA, it has to undergo rigorous evaluation processes involving the Department of Science and Technology, FDA, and various vaccine expert groups,” the DOH said.

“Safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines are scrutinized based on latest available data and scientific evidence from global clinical trials. All vaccines available now in the country are safe, effective, and have been found to reduce risk of severe illness and prevent death after completing the required doses,” it added.

The DOH also stressed that demand generation and increasing vaccine confidence should be a joint effort of the national government, LGUs, private sector, civil society organizations, and partners from the media.

“We have to be reminded that vaccine confidence should be built in the stringent processes that lead to the vaccine development, local authorization, and recommended use of these vaccines, and definitely not by the brand,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was quoted as saying in the same statement.

While vaccination is not mandatory, DOH encourages every Filipino to register with their LGU and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

The agency also reiterated that the best vaccine is the one that is available now, regardless of the brand.

“As more vaccine supplies become readily available, I encourage everyone to take the earliest opportunity to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines give additional protection against COVID-19 to prevent hospitalization and death,” Duque said.

“We, at DOH, call on the public to choose to be vaccinated to protect yourselves and your loved ones, the soonest possible time, ” he added.

As of May 19, the government has inoculated more than 2 million Filipinos belonging to priority groups A1 to A3. The country is set to begin the vaccination of economic frontliners and indigent population in the NCR Plus by June 8, given the availability of vaccine supplies.

Self-test kits na aprubado ng FDA, mabibili lang sa mga otorisadong drug outlets – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Maaari nang mabili sa mga lisensiyado at aprubadong drug outlets ang dalawang brand ng COVID-19 Antigen Self-test kits, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ito ay matapos aprubahan ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ang aplikasyon ng special certification ng dalawang kumpanya para sa self-test kits na tinatawag na Abbot’s Panbio at Labnovation Technologies SARS-CoV2 Antigen rapid test.

Una nang iniulat ni FDA officer in charge Oscar Gutierrez na nabigyan na ng sertipikasyon ang dalawang brand at maaari nang gamitin sa bansa.

“Ang Panbio COVID-19 antigen self-test kit ng Abbot available po siya sa 1, 4, 10, and 20 tests per box. At yung SARS-CoV-2- antigen rapid test ng Labnovation Technologies Incorporated ito po ay self-test for home use din. Available po siya ng 2,5, and 20 tests per box,” ani Gutierrez.

Pero paalala ng Department of Health na may tamang proseso at panahon ang paggamit ng self-test kits upang masegurong tama ang ilalabas nitong resulta.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, mas mainam gamitin ang self-test kits kung may sintomas ang isang tao upang matiyak na accurate ang resulta ng kit.

“Please use it rationally, use it at the right time at tamang proseso. Ibig sabihin gagamit lang po kayo ng test kapag kayo ay nakakaramdam ng sintomas dahil ang antigen test po ay most accurate pa rin kapag kayo po ay nakakaranas ng sintomas dulot ng COVID-19,” ani Vergeire.

Ang panawagan naman ng Infectious Diseases expert na si Dr. Rontgene Solante, bigyang-prayoridad sa paggamit ng test kit ang mga may sintomas at nasa vulnerable population gaya ng mga matatanda upang agad malaman ang kanilang kondisyon at malapatan ng karampatang lunas.

“I-prioritize natin ang paggamit nitong antigen test doon sa mga may symptoms at vulnerable population. Bakit? Because these are the population that are kailangan na kung mag-positive meron tayong gamot na mga anti-viral or monoclonal antibodies para hindi po lalala ang mga infections nila to severe COVID at hindi sila maho-hospitalize,” ani Solante.

May pagkakaiba rin ang Antigen self-test kits sa rapid test kits na kalimitang ginagamit sa mga ospital at laboratory kaya payo ng DOH sa publiko na basahing mabuti ang instructional manual na nakapaloob sa bibilihing test kits.

“Ang kaibahan nito ay iyong pong specimen na kinokolekta. Ito pong mga self-administered test kits usually would have nasal specimens po ang kinukuha. Ibig sabihin kapag nasal specimen, di ganun kalalim sa inyong ilong ang pagkuha ng specimen for this test kits compared doon sa current na kailangan na guided siya ng health worker at mas malalim ang kinukuhang specimens para rito,” ang paliwanag ni Vergeire.

Paalala rin ng DOH na ang self-test kits ay available lamang sa mga otorisadong botika at hindi maaaring bilhin online.

“Bumili lamang ng self-administered test kits na aprubado nf FDA o galing po sa mga FDA-licensed drug outlets para lagi po tayong makakasiguro ana ito ay ligtas at lagi po tayong makakaseguro na makakapagbigya ng accurate na resulta,” ani Vergeire.

Paalala rin ng DOH sa publiko na i-check ang expiration date ng self-test kits at itago ang opisyal na resibo ng botikang pinagbilhan nito.

Sa ngayon ay isinasapinal na ng DOH ang guidelines, kaakibat ang evaluation ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at FDA hinggil sa COVID-19 self-test kits.

“Ang kagawaran namn po ng kalusugan are on our final stages dito po sa pagssusulat ng polisiya at guidelines kung paano natin gagamitin ito sa mercado,” ani Vergeire.

“Siguro po within the week makakapaglabas na tayo nitong guidelines natin,” dagdag pa niya.

COMELEC releases ballot face for 2022 elections

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Tuesday released the final ballot face for the May 2022 national and local elections.

The ballot contains the names of 10 presidential aspirants and nine vice presidential bets. It also includes the names of 64 senatorial candidates.

The presidential aspirants included in the final ballot face are listed in the following order:

  • Abella, Ernie
  • De Guzman, Leody
  • Domagoso, Isko Moreno
  • Gonzales, Norberto
  • Lacson, Ping
  • Mangondato, Faisal
  • Marcos, Bongbong
  • Montemayor, Jose Jr.
  • Pacquiao, Manny Pacman
  • Robredo, Leni

The names of vice presidential bets included in the ballot are the following:

  • Atienza, Lito
  • Bello, Walden
  • David, Rizalito
  • Duterte, Sara
  • Lopez, Manny SD
  • Ong, Doc Willie
  • Pangilinan, Kiko
  • Serapio, Carlos
  • Sotto, Vicente Tito

The final ballot face also includes 178 party-list groups.

Ballot faces for other areas have also been uploaded by the COMELEC on its website.

Duterte threatens to name ‘corrupt’ presidential bet

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to spill some information about the presidential aspirants and who among them is allegedly ‘most corrupt’.

In a taped speech aired on Tuesday, Duterte said he will bare some details and “what’s wrong” with the presidential bets in the 2022 elections “in due time.”

“I will personally name the candidates and maybe what’s wrong with them na kailangan malaman ng tao because you are electing a president, sino ‘yung pinaka-corrupt na candidato,” he said.

Duterte said the information came “from everybody” and from “personal experience.”

While he did not specify names, Duterte said there is a ‘very corrupt’ aspirant who cannot become president.

“Mayroon diyan, talagang hindi pwede maging president,” he said.

“Mayroon naman diyan na presidente, pero masyadong corrupt. Kala lang kasi tao malinis, pero yung mga transaction, business sa kaniya, official business, pati yung mga chinese nagreklamo na masyadong corrupt,” he added.

Another contender, he said, is a bit lacking in experience, and doesn’t even seem to know the “fundamentals” of what a person who wants to be president should know.

“Medyo kulang talaga. Kulang na kulang. Everyday may sasabihin siya na mali o maski the fundamentals of what a person na gustong mag-president dapat,” he said.

Duterte stressed that he is not politicking and that he only wants to reveal this to let the people know about these issues.

“I’m talking to you as your president. Kailangan ilalabas ko kasi we are talking of elections, we are talking of our country and the next rulers, so to say, so to speak,” he said.

“Walang personalan ito… Nothing at stake for me, wala talaga akong rason bakit maghanap ako ng kalaban,” he added.

Duterte has yet to endorse a candidate for the presidential race.

His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is running for vice president in tandem with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

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