The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it was eyeing the purchase of antivirals and vaccines against monkey pox.
Monkeypox vaccination is not yet included in the Philippines’ National Immunization Program, the DOH said in a statement.
The DOH said it was “exploring all possible available sources and expedient legal methods for the procurement of Monkeypox vaccine.”
The agency said a vaccine has been developed, but was “not yet widely available.”
Consultations and review must be held with expert groups and development partners in terms of vaccination and priority population groups, the DOH added.
“At present, the DOH is preparing supply chains and logistics services. There are ongoing internal discussions, based on scientific evidence, for the possible acquisition of antivirals in the event ofan outbreak or severe cases,” it added.
There are no specific antiviral drugs for monkey pox and its management is symptomatic, according to Dr. Marissa Alejandria, member of the DOH-technical advisory group on infectious diseases.
The disease is transmitted through unprotected contact via respiratory droplets, and has an incubation period of 5 to 21 days, Alejandriasaid. Symptoms usually include fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headache, chills, sore throat, malaise, and fatigue, she added.
The health agency said it was also coordinating with the Philippine Genome Center and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for the surveillance of monkey pox through RT-PCR testing.