Sinovac COVID-19 vax arrives in Bangsamoro Region

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021   •   296

The allocated batch of the donated CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has arrived in the region.

In a statement, the Bangsamoro health minister said 4,200 vials of Sinovac vaccines arrived on Thursday at the Cotabato Airport. Its arrival was welcomed by officials of the Ministry of Health and Maguindanao Provincial Health Office.

Dr. Amirel Usman, BARMM health minister, said the vaccines will be administered to 2,100 health personnel in the region.

The vaccination ceremony will be held on Friday, March 5, at the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Maguindanao.

Usman said this is for the first phase of the BARMM’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Each health worker will receive two vaccine shots with a four-week interval from the first vaccination.

Usman emphasized that health workers in the region, who work both in public and private hospitals, including frontline workers in the ministries of social services, education, and local government, are the top priorities of the vaccination program.

Next are indigent senior citizens, Bangsamoro constituents, and uniformed personnel.

Usman, however, noted that this is still subject to change depending on prevailing situations.

“We have two types of COVID-19 vaccine – the one which can be stored in +2C to +8C refrigerator and the other can be stored in -70C. The challenge for Pfizer is, BARMM still has no capability to store -70C temperature right now,” he said.

Health workers, who are willing to get vaccinated, are advised to sign waivers. However, they also have the option if they prefer another Covid-19 vaccine such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

Usman, nevertheless, stressed that the available vaccine at the moment is the “best vaccine” for everyone, highlighting that the vaccination program is part of the government’s preventive measures against the virus.

DOH’s Duque gets vaccinated vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III received his first dose of a vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Friday.

Duque was inoculated around 10 a.m. with CoronaVac dose made by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech. Health Undersecretary Geraldo Bayugo administered the vaccine.

Duque, 64, is a senior citizen that belongs to A2 category of the government’s COVID-19 priority list.

“As I receive my dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today, I invite everyone to do the same, and choose to be protected,” Duque was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the DOH.

“Let us all take part in protecting public health, and let us be in unison in spreading one message: that vaccines are safe, and vaccines are effective,” he added.

Duque also stressed that the government is doing everything it can to secure sufficient vaccine supply to cover 70 million Filipinos.

The DOH chief’s vaccination follows the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration to use CoronaVac on senior citizens amid a shortage of AstraZeneca vaccine supply, which is used to inoculate the elderly.

 

IBP welcomes IATF move to include lawyers in COVID-19 vaccination priority list

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday welcomed the decision of the government’s task force for COVID-19 response to include lawyers in the groups to be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Malacañang earlier announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has listed lawyers under the A4 category which includes frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors.

The Palace said that the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

“We are thankful that the request for inclusion of lawyers as A4 in vaccine prioritization was favorably acted upon,” IBP president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.

“Litigation lawyers, prosecutors, PAO lawyers, and lawyers who are frontliners in the justice/law sector who are at risk of COVID-19 infection should be similarly protected as the magistrates and court employees,” he added.

Cayosa assured that the IBP will “fully cooperate to ensure fair and efficient allocation of vaccines.”

DOH updates guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has revised its guidelines on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment program.

Under the Department Memorandum No. 2021-0175, the DOH said that individuals who recently recovered from COVID-19 may be vaccinated immediately after recovery or completion of treatment for their first or second dose.

The DOH previously said that persons who tested positive for COVID-19 had to wait for 90 days before they get vaccinated.

This development comes after the country’s vaccine experts panel recommended inoculating COVID-19 survivors 14 days after their recovery.

The new DOH guidelines also state that individuals who were not able to receive their second dose due to medical reasons must coordinate with their respective vaccination sites for the immediate rescheduling of their vaccination.

The agency also said that only individuals experiencing a blood pressure (BP) of 180/120 or higher, with signs and symptoms of organ damage during the screening process, cannot be vaccinated.

“Other vaccine recipients with blood pressure not meeting definitions of hypertensive emergency may be vaccinated,” the DOH said.

The department also emphasized that medical clearance is not required for vaccination, except for individuals with autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer patients currently undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, transplant patients, those undergoing steroid treatment, and patients who are bedridden or with a poor prognosis.

The national government is currently vaccinating persons and workers belonging to A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities) priority sectors. The Inter-Agency Task Force has also approved the list of sectors that are included in the A4 group.

The DOH earlier reported that over one million Filipinos have been vaccinated against COVID-19 disease.

The agency, however, reminded to continue observing minimum public health standards even after vaccination to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

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