The administering of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people younger than 60 will resume after experts gave the go-signal, the Department of Health said Monday.
Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH will draft updated guidelines on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine following reports of rare blood clots on some recipients abroad.
“We need to remember that only a small percentage of the population was affected by these kinds of adverse events for AstraZeneca,” Vergeire said in Filipino.
The DOH said no such adverse events have been reported in the Philippines.
Only 63% of health workers vaccinated
Only 63 percent of health workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the WHO country representative to the Philippines, appealed for immediate vaccination of health workers under the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
“At least 1.125 million doses have been administered and 63 percent of them are health workers. We need to still prioritize and ensure full coverage of medical frontliners,” Abeyasinghe said at a briefing.
“We are still short of protecting all frontline health care workers, and the current surge demonstrates that medical workers have to be fully protected so that they can work to care for the sick,” he added.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said they hope to finish vaccinating health workers, senior citizens, and persons with co-morbidities by mid-May or June.
Jabs for teachers eyed
The Department of Education said the vaccination of some 790,000 public school teachers and personnel against COVID-19 may begin by June because by then enrollment would have begun and school activities will pick up.
Initially, more than 1 million teachers and support staff were up for vaccination against COVID-19.
That number has fallen, however, as some teachers also belong to other priority groups.
1.4M doses already in arms
More than 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the Philippines as of April 17, over a month since the start of its inoculation program, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said a total of 1,456,793 doses have been administered in 3,155 vaccination sites across the country.
A total of 1,264,811 Filipinos have received their first dose, 960,191 of whom are health workers, 128,018 are senior citizens, and 176,305 are persons with co-morbidities.
Some 191,982 health workers are now fully vaccinated after getting two doses.
The Philippines has received 3,025,600 doses of AstraZeneca and Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines.
Inclusion of teachers hailed
An opposition leader in the House of Representatives on Monday welcomed the inclusion of frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies to the A4 priority of the vaccine roll-out. Willie Casas and Maricel V. Cruz
Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro urged the government to speed up the procurement of vaccines so that there would be enough vaccines to swiftly accommodate all those who need it.
Castro said the priority list would be useless if there are no available vaccines to be used for those in the list.
Cebu Pacific delivers vaccines
The Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) on Monday flew another shipment of vaccines to Tuguegarao and Puerto Princesa.
The shipment of 35,080 doses is the fourth for the province of Tuguegarao, while Puerto Princesa’s shipment with 6,400 doses, is the second transportation made by CEB’s sister airline CebGo.
“We are happy to be able to carry more of these life-saving vaccines to ensure timely distribution across the archipelago is unhampered, said Alex Reyes, president and CEO of Cebgo.
Upon receipt of vaccines at the CEB Cargo Warehouse in Manila on Friday, the shipment was immediately kept in refrigerated containers to ensure they maintain their optimum conditions until arrival at their intended destinations.