PH expects to receive 5.6-M doses of COVID vaccine in Q1

Marje Pelayo   •   February 1, 2021   •   483

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is expecting 5.6 million doses of vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from Pfizer-BioNTech and Astrazeneca in the first quarter of this year.

The shipment is being processed through COVAX facility – a global collaboration initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and various organizations that facilitate the speecy development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment.

According to the  National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr, they received a letter from Aurelia Nguyen, the managing director of the WHO-led COVAX facility, about the delivery.

The letter also stated that the Philippines will receive the second shipment of vaccines from the facility in mid February which is composed of 117,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and around 5.5-M to 9.2-M doses coming from Astrazeneca.

The exact number of doses per shipment, however, is not yet clear as the pharmaceutical companies are still waiting for the emergency use listing coming from the WHO.

“I would like to emphasize that according to COVAX the number of doses and the projected arrival of the vaccines are all indicative since it all depends on the global supply. “ Galvez said.

Sec. Galvez said the number of doses and the timeline of shipment may still vary depending on the global supply.

For its part, the Department of Health (DOH) assured that all vaccines that will arrive in the country will go through proper screening by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Pfizer-BioNTech and Astrazeneca were the first pharmaceutical companies that received emergency use authorization from the Philippines.

“Mabusisi at detalyado ang proseso ng pagde- develop hanggang sa pag- aapruba ng COVID-19 vaccines upang siguraduhing ligtas at epektibo ang mga ito lalo na sa paghahatid ng kaligtasan at karagdagang proteksyon sa sambayanag Pilipino,” said Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire adding that the process will be supported by medical experts and scientists .

The DOH also assured that the vaccines will be equally distributed among all target sectors.

The department also reminded the public that even with the arrival of the vaccines, people should not to let their guard down and continue to strictly practice health safety protocols against COVID-19. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Over 193,000 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech has been delivered in the Philippines.

The shipment arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 around 9 p.m. on Monday.

The initial batch of 193,050 doses of Pfizer vaccines was courtesy of the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines will serve as a logistical run to prepare for the arrival of additional Pfizer vaccine doses, which require storage temperature conditions of -70 degrees Celsius.

The Department of Health said this batch of Pfizer vaccines would be distributed to Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao, which have facilities capable of handling the product to avoid wastage.

These will be used on priority groups A1 (health workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with co-morbidities).

The government hopes to get 1.3 million more Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX facility this May.

Pfizer-BioNTech is the fourth brand of vaccine against coronavirus disease that the Philippines received since the government rolled out its immunization program on March 1. Vaccine supplies from Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Gamaleya Institute have been delivered in the past weeks.

DOH: NCR Plus to get most of newly-delivered AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses

Robie de Guzman   •   May 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces of Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively called NCR Plus – will get the highest allocation of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that were delivered to the country over the weekend.

In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a quarter of the additional two million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines will be distributed in Metro Manila followed by areas in the Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions.

“Nasa NCR Plus bubble po yung pinakamataas na alokasyon dahil alam naman po natin yung focus natin so we can be able to have herd containment here in this epicenter of this disease,” she said.

The health official said the allocations have been prepared and the vaccines will be distributed starting Monday.

“Nagawa na yung allocation list and ready to deploy na tayo starting today,” she said.

Other regions will also receive AstraZeneca vaccines but Vergeire did not specify the allocation breakdown.

The additional doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility arrived in the country on Saturday.

The fresh vaccine supply was delivered after Philippine health authorities announced last Friday the official resumption of AstraZeneca vaccine administration for eligible populations.

The DOH previously suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines following the recommendation of the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to temporarily halt its use on persons below 60 years old after reports of “very rare” cases of Vaccine-Induced Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia (VIIT).

VITT is a very rare condition of blood clots associated with low platelet counts that can occur 4 to 28 days after receiving a viral vector vaccine such as AstraZeneca, the DOH said.

“After discussions with the DOH All Experts Group and the Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine (PCHTM), it was concluded that there are currently no known risk factors for VITT and that the benefits of receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 still outweighs the risk,” the department said in an earlier statement.

The DOH, however, said that specific guidelines and measures will still be enforced to mitigate the risks of vaccination.

Healthcare workers (HCWs) in vaccination sites will also be trained to detect and manage possible symptoms of VITT and refer them accordingly to the appropriate health facility for definitive workup and management.

PH resumes use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced the official resumption of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine administration for all eligible populations in the Philippines.

The DOH previously suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines following the recommendation of the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to temporarily halt its use on persons below 60 years old after reports of “very rare” cases of Vaccine-Induced Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia (VITT).

VITT is a very rare condition of blood clots associated with low platelet counts that can occur 4 to 28 days after receiving a viral vector vaccine such as AstraZeneca, the DOH said.

“After discussions with the DOH All Experts Group and the Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine (PCHTM), it was concluded that there are currently no known risk factors for VITT and that the benefits of receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 still outweighs the risk,” the department said in a statement.

The DOH All Experts Group on Vaccines is composed of experts from the DOST Vaccine Expert Panel, Health Technology Assessment Council, Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, NAEFIC, and DOH Technical Advisory Group for COVID-19.

The DOH, however, said that specific guidelines and measures will still be enforced to mitigate the risks of vaccination.

Updated guidelines on the management of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) particularly for VITT1 were also subsequently released by the PCHTM.

“Based on the guidelines, all vaccination sites should have strengthened post-vaccination surveillance to spot possible AEFI. Further, all healthcare workers (HCWs) in vaccination sites will be trained to detect and manage possible symptoms of VITT and refer them accordingly to the appropriate health facility for definitive workup and management,” the DOH said.

To date, the National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee and the FDA have not detected any local VITT events.

The DOH said that the resumption and issuance of the guidelines are timely as 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to arrive in the country this month.

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