PH gov’t in talks with 6 potential local vaccine manufacturers – DOST

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021   •   1492

MANILA, Philippines – The government is currently in talks with six companies that are planning to establish vaccination manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday.

In a virtual press briefing, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said these companies are local drug makers that have expressed intents to open vaccine-making facilities in the country in the next few years.

“These are local pharmaceutical companies. Wala pa tayong local vaccine manufacturers in the Philippines. These local pharmaceutical companies are trying to come up with a new product, which is a vaccine,” she said.

Guevara declined to name specific companies, citing confidentiality, as negotiations are still ongoing. She, however, gave descriptions of the six firms.

One is a local distributor of a South Korean company, another has extensive facilities in Asia and is planning to partner with a foreign brand name where all the vaccines that the country needs are being manufactured.

The third company is connected to a vaccine developer in Germany, while another firm is planning to start a local vaccine manufacturing business with a fill-and-finish facility.

The fifth company is a long-term partner of a Chinese vaccine producer that is interested in local manufacturing, while the sixth firm is still looking for a possible partner but is planning to partner with a US pharmaceutical company.

Guevara also disclosed that two of these companies have been aggressive in pushing for local vaccine production.

“If they pursue their plans, based on what they have told us, parang kakayanin nilang mag-produce ng vaccine by late 2022,” she said.

Guevara said these manufacturing facilities will not just produce COVID-19 vaccines but also other jabs against rubella, polio, and other vaccine-preventable diseases, for about 40 million doses per year.

The national government has been eyeing to establish the country’s own vaccine institute to locally produce vaccines and sustain the needs for immunization programs.

The DOST said the country is also in talks with 25 international manufacturers, including the Serum Institute of India which has previously offered assistance for the Philippines to locally manufacture vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

LIST: Conditions of immunocompromised persons eligible for COVID-19 booster shots

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday released a list of conditions for immunocompromised individuals that will qualify them for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Immunocompromised persons with the following conditions are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • HIV
  • Cancer/Malignancy
  • Transplant patients
  • Undergoing steroid treatment
  • Patients with poor prognosis/ bed-ridden patients

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH met with experts on COVID-19 vaccine to discuss and prepare the guidelines for the administration of booster shots for immunocompromised individuals (A3) and senior citizens (A2).

“Gagawin lang po namin ang guidelines and we will be announcing through our National Vaccine Operations Cluster kung kailan po maguumpisa ang pagbabakuna ng booster or 3rd doses para sa ating mga nakakatanda or A2 and those individuals with immunocompromised states,” Vergeire said.

The Philippine government started administering booster shots for fully vaccinated healthcare workers this week.

“There were already 2,488 booster doses administered last Nov. 17 among our healthcare workers. Meron ho tayong kaunti na nagkaroon ng reaction, it’s about 2 percent of all of these,” she said.

“Lahat po ay na-manage accordingly and they were all sent home na they were well. Wala tayong serious na adverse events na naitala para dito sa mga naka-received na ng booster doses,” she added.

Vergeire said that most of the adverse events reported were mild such as headache, elevated blood pressure, fever, and pain on the injection site.

She stressed that healthcare workers are not required to get an additional vaccine dose.

Vergeire also reminded the public that the booster dosing is not yet recommended for the general public, adding that its implementation to other priority groups will be done in phases.

PH receives over 600K Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received another batch of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said Friday.

In a statement, the NTF said the shipment containing a total of 609,570 doses arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday night.

The latest shipment of Pfizer jabs is part of the 40 million vaccine shots procured by the government, it added.

To date, a total of 129,053,970 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered to the Philippines since February.

Government data showed that as of November 17, a total of 72,763,442 of vaccine doses have been administered nationwide, of which 40,179,796 Filipinos have already received their first dose while 32,581,158 individuals are now fully vaccinated.

The government aims to fully vaccinate 54 million Filipinos by the end of the year, the NTF said.

3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose para sa senior citizens, maaaring umpisahan sa 3-day vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Inirerekomenda ng isang miyembro ng Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) na isabay na sa gagawing tatlong araw na national vaccination drive ang pagbibigay ng third dose para sa mga senior citizen.

Nakatakda ang national vaccination drive sa Nobyembre 29 hanggang Disyembre 1.

Nitong Miyerkules naman sinimulan ang pagbibigay ng booster shot sa fully vaccinated healthcare workers.

Ayon kay Dr. Nina Gloriani, ang pinuno ng Department of Science and Technology VEP, maaaring isabay na rin sa vaccination drive ang pagbabakuna ng booster doses para sa mga senior citizen dahil halos pareho lang ang period ng immunity ng mga bakuna.

Batay sa pag-aaral ng mga eksperto, tatlo hanggang limang buwan ang karaniwang proteksyon na ibinibigay ng bakuna sa mga senior citizen. Mas maikli ito kumpara sa nakukuha ng general population na anim hanggang sampung buwan.

“Generally po iyon, iyong six months. Iyong iba, depende rin sa tao. Kapag elderly po or immunocompromised, mas maaga mawa-wane iyan. So mayroon pong mga data that showed na three months palang, four months, five months bumababa na,” ang paliwanag ni Gloriani.

“Pero sa general population po […]  mga six months po. Pero iyong iba maganda pa rin ang immune response nila ang eight months after ten months,” dagdag pa niya.

Aniya, maaaring tumanggap ng kahit anong brand ng booster shot ang mga senior citizen.

Puwede rin sa kanila ang mga vaccine combination alinsunod sa guidelines ng Department of Health.

Siguraduhin lamang na walang contraindication o posibleng komplikasyon ang vaccine brand na gagamitin kung magpapabakuna ng booster shot.

Samantala, hindi pa nirerekomenda ng mga eksperto and pagbibigay ng booster shot para sa mga bata.

Ayon kay Gloriani, kailangan munang matapos ang two doses ng kanilang bakuna bago magpaturok ng booster shot.

“Sa mga bata hindi pa po natin pinag-uusapan iyan. Tatapusin muna nila ang two doses. Sa mga bata po kasi maganda ang immune response nila. Mas mataas kaysa sa mga may edad. So hindi po tayo masyadong nagwo-worry sa waning immunity. Hindi po muna,” ang wika ni Gloriani.

Sa ngayon ay nagpapatuloy ang nationwide rollout ng COVID-19 pediatric vaccination sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

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