Over 20 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs procured through ADB loan – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 19, 2021   •   334

MANILA, Philippines – More than 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been procured by the Philippine government through a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the DOH said that the ADB has recognized its accomplishment on the utilization of its loan under the latter’s financing project called Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit (HEAL) COVID-19 project.

The DOH said it received a rating of excellent progress in the recently concluded HEAL 1 Review Mission and HEAL 2 Inception Mission after recording over 70 percent obligation rate of its USD 825 million total loan budget intended for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and its ancillaries, equipment, infrastructure, and training.

The agency quoted in its statement Sakiko Tanaka, ADB Principal Social Sector Specialist, who said: “Within the implementation of the ADB Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL) project, approximately 21.58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been financed through ADB and delivered to the Philippines, and of this, 6.3 million doses have been given to priority populations as of August 2021.”

Tanaka also mentioned other achievements of the project including the procurement and delivery of 70 patient transport vehicles for contact tracing, 90 mechanical ventilators, and 85 portable x-ray machines to aid patient recovery in target Local Government Units (LGUs) and DOH-owned hospitals.

“Despite the challenges, civil works, and procurement of other medical supplies and laboratory equipment are moving forward and will be completed as planned,” she added.

The DOH said the HEAL project aims to assist the Philippines in scaling up its COVID-19 response, by providing medical equipment and supplies to health facilities that treat COVID-19 cases, and establishing pandemic subnational reference laboratories and isolation wards to strengthen testing capacity, surveillance and infection prevention and control.

The project also seeks to provide timely financing for safe and effective vaccine procurement and logistics, it added.

“I would like to thank the ADB and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank for guiding us in this journey of a very big loan,” said DOH Undersecretary Mario Villaverde.

 

PNP backs DOH’s recommendation to keep PH under COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed support to the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) to keep the country under Alert Level 2 amid the declining cases of coronavirus infection.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said the existing alert status in the country should not be downgraded yet due to the looming threat of the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“The time isn’t ripe yet since it’s the holiday season and we have observed more people becoming complacent to go outdoors, disregarding health protocol, and unmindful of the risks,” he said.

He also believes that a shift to a more relaxed quarantine level will affect the compliance of the public to minimum health standards.

Carlos, however, said that the PNP will abide by decision that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the implementation of COVID-19 alert levels system.

“The local government units are vested the authority to issue Executive Orders that police personnel are duty bound to enforce,” he said.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 until December 15. Other areas in the country have also been placed under the same level.

The DOH earlier said that the IATF is still discussing whether or not to lower the alert level in the capital region.

PH gov’t eyeing to administer 7 million COVID-19 jabs in second vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is aiming to administer seven million COVID-19 vaccine jabs for the second round of nationwide vaccination drive, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

The second mass immunization campaign is scheduled from December 15 to 17.

“Ang tina-target natin dito, mga 7 million para second dose, para maabot yung ating pinupuntiryang 54 million by the end of the year na bigyan ng kumpletong bakuna,” Duque said in a televised public briefing.

This target is lower than the first vaccination drive conducted last November 29 to December 1 and later extended until December 3.

The government had hoped to inoculate 9 million people during the first three-day immunization campaign. More than 10 million were vaccinated in the extended drive.

The vaccination drive was launched in a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate to achieve population protection against COVID-19.

So far, more than 38 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated out of the 91.7 million doses administered since the immunization was rolled out in March.

The number of individuals who have received their first dose rose to 56.7 million.

The government is aiming to fully vaccinate at least 54 million by the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed hope that the second vaccination drive will also be successful.

“We will have a second round of Bayanihan Bakunahan from December 15 to 17. I hope that we would have the same success. But this time lesser because parang naubos na natin ang Pilipino sa ‘yung what counts sa bakuna kaya medyo there’s a slowdown of the COVID-19,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will be able to overcome the pandemic amid increasing vaccination rate in the country.

24K expired AstraZeneca vaccine doses sa Western Visayas, susuriin kung maaari pang gamitin – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

Ipinapasuri na ng Department of Health (DOH)-Western Visayas kung maaari pang gamitin ang nasa 24,000 doses ng AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine na nag-expire noong November 30.

Bahagi ito ng libu-libong supply ng AstraZeneca vaccine na ipinadala sa Western Visayas noong buwan ng Oktubre.

Nasa 45,000 doses sa mga ito ang ipinadala sa Negros Occidental noong Nobyembre 8. Batay sa ulat ng provincial government, 14,920 doses pa ang natitira sa mga ito at hindi nagamit hanggang sa mag-expire noong Nobyembre 30.

Ayon kay Negros Occidental provincial administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz II, hindi ginamit ang mga nasabing bakuna dahil tumanggi umano ang mga local government unit (LGU) na tanggapin ito dahil sa nalalapit na expiration date.

“We value our vaccines. We want to use them. We do not delay, but we value more the vaccinees. We don’t want to inject vaccines that are about to expire,” ani Diaz.

Ang natitirang 10,000 doses naman ay nasa iba’t ibang lokalidad.

Ayon sa DOH regional office, ipinasasauli na nila ang mga nasabing bakuna upang masuri kung maaari pa itong gamitin.

Ayon kay Bea Camille Natalaray, ang tagapagsalita ng DOH Region 6, hihingan rin ng paliwanag ang concerned LGUs kung bakit hindi nagamit ang nasabing supply.

“Magpapasa sila ng incident report to explain bakit hindi nila na-utilize ang vaccine within the period of time. Ano ang mga factors konoconsider para next time maging part na siya ng ating mga guidelines or protocols or strategies,” ani Natalaray.

Sa ngayon ay hinihintay pa ng DOH-6 ang magiging desisyon ng central office kung dapat bang managot ang mga LGU sa pagkasira ng mga bakuna. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lalaine Moreno)

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