Risk of rare nerve complication with J&J vaccine still ‘very low’, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 13, 2021   •   305

MANILA, Philippines – The “increased risk” of developing a rare nerve disorder called Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) after getting inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen “remains very low,” the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

The DOH issued the statement after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the emergency use authorization of Janssen vaccine to include information about an increased risk of GBS during the 42 days following receipt of this vaccine.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines GBS as a rare, autoimmune disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerves, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

“GBS can cause symptoms that last for a few weeks to several years. Most people recover fully, but some have permanent nerve damage. Some people have died of GBS,” the CDC said.

While GBS has been noted to be an adverse event following immunization based on its occurrence after vaccination, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed that it is a “very rare” condition.

“This increased risk still remains very low,” she said.

“Current data still shows out that the benefits of getting vaccinated and the protection from COVID-19 hospitalization and death still outweigh the risks for any reported reactions to vaccines, such as GBS,” she added.

The DOH urged all patients to “report to their local vaccine operations center (LVOC) for any cases of GBS or immediately contact a healthcare provider if they feel any symptoms.”

“We call on all physicians and hospitals to ensure that for all suspected reactions to vaccines, you report these immediately to your respective epidemiology and surveillance unit so that these could be appropriately investigated and records be retrieved and assessed for causality by the pool of experts nationwide,” Vergeire said.

The Philippines is expecting to receive this July its first shipment of Janssen vaccine doses donated by the US government through the global vaccine sharing COVAX facility.

PH receives UK-donated AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has received the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines that were donated by the United Kingdom (UK).

The shipment, containing 415,040 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots, arrived in Manila on Monday afternoon.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., along with outgoing UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce, and Foreign Affairs Office of European Affairs Assistant Secretary Jaime Leda welcomed the arrival of the vaccines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

This is part of the 100 million vaccine doses pledged by the British government to developing countries, including the Philippines, through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.

Pruce said the donation is a “powerful illustration of countries working together,” as he noted the strong collaboration of the United Kingdom and the Philippines in addressing the global health crisis.

“The United Kingdom has been able to donate these 4,015,040 vaccines and it will be wonderful to see in the coming days and weeks, the government of the Philippines deploy and administer these vaccines,” He said.

As of August 1, the Philippines has administered a total of 20,863,544 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Of this number, 11,747,581 Filipinos have received their first dose, while 9,115,963 individuals are now fully vaccinated.

 

Over 500,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrive in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — More than 500,000 additional doses of US-made Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the country on Wednesday night.

The cargo plane carrying 562,770 doses of Pfizer vaccine arrived at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu around 6:45 p.m.

Part of the shipment, amounting to 51,480 doses, will be distributed in Cebu.

The rest were brought to Manila via the same flight that landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in Pasay City at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than the original schedule of 9:20 p.m.

Another 51,480 doses of Pfizer are expected to be delivered in Davao City around 6:30 a.m. Thursday, July 22.

The remaining 459,810 doses allocated for Metro Manila will be brought to the cold storage facility in Marikina City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that a total of 562,770 Pfizer shots that were procured by the government will arrive on Wednesday night.

This is part of the 40 million Pfizer doses procured by the government from the American pharmaceutical firm.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is also expecting to receive this week more than 2 million additional Sinovac jabs. The first shipment of 1.5 million doses will arrive on July 22, and another 1 million doses on July 23.

Prior to Wednesday’s delivery, the Philippines has so far received more than 27 million vaccine shots, including brands of Sinovac, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sputnik V, and Janssen.

The Philippine government hopes to further boost its vaccination campaign when more vaccine supplies are delivered in the country.

Over 3 million doses of Pfizer, Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in PH this week

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is expecting to receive more than 3 million doses of Pfizer and Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines this week, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the shipment containing about 562,770 doses of Pfizer vaccines will arrive in the country on Wednesday evening.

This is part of the 40 million Pfizer doses procured by the government from the American pharmaceutical firm.

The Philippines also expects to receive 1.5 million doses of Sinovac vaccines on July 22, and another 1 million doses on July 23.

Roque said the Philippines has so far received more than 27 million vaccine shots, including brands of Sinovac, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sputnik V, and Janssen.

The Philippine government hopes to further boost its vaccination campaign when more vaccine supplies are delivered to the country.

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