News Release

DOH begins distributing bivalent Covid-19 vaccines, negotiates to acquire more

The Department of Health (DOH) has started to distribute 390,000 doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines to different parts of the country, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said on Tuesday.

“So, dumating na iyong 390,000 doses of bivalent Covid-19 vaccines which came from COVAX. So, it’s a donation, hindi ito prinocure, and as of this moment, as we speak, I think they have already been redistributed to the different region(al offices) of the Department of Health,” Herbosa said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“It’s going to be (stored), parang may depots. Kasi may cold chain ang vaccine. So kailangan they’re kept at the right temperature,” the DOH chief noted.

Herbosa said the majority of the vaccine doses went to the National Capital Region while the rest went to the other regions, adding that they are still negotiating to acquire more.

“So, what we will have to do is to prioritize who needs it first. So, number one, the elderly. Number two, iyong may comorbidity. Number three, iyong health care workers, kasi hindi ba inuna rin natin iyong healthcare workers. So nag-wane na siguro iyong immunity nila. We need to protect them also,” he said.

Some of the issues in getting more of the bivalent Covid-19 vaccines include the registration of the doses with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

“Meron lang snag and issues kasi nawala iyong public health emergency. So, the issue of the vaccine is in terms of the EUA (emergency use authorization). So, to procure it, kailangan ma-i-rehistro sa ating FDA. But we are trying hard to get all these bivalent (vaccines),” Herbosa said, adding that the Philippines is not the only country trying to get hold of the vaccines.

He pointed out that they need to start vaccinating those priority individuals with the bivalent dose because it only has a shelf life of six months upon delivery.

“Kasi kapag ang binili ko iyong nandoon na, makikita ninyo ini-isyuhan ninyo ako na nag-expire iyong bivalent vaccines kasi six months lang ang shelf life niyan, wala ng gamit. So kapag binili mo iyan out of the shelf, like this one, this donation, they end on November 23, that’s the expiry date. So, I need to start vaccinating people immediately,” Herbosa said.

The DOH chief also renewed the call for the public to get vaccinated and not be complacent in as much as the World Health Organization has already declared an end to Covid-19 as a public health emergency.

“But we will continue to push for people to get vaccinated because it will prevent you, especially if you are at high risk of mortality. Kasi ngayon ang usapan na hindi iyong numero ng nagka-Covid,” Herbosa said.

“Naalala ninyo nitong mga nakaraang linggo, tumataas iyong positivity rate, may nire-report kaming mga namatay. Even my hospital in PGH (Philippine General Hospital), kasi I was head of ER (emergency room), isa o dalawa lang ang na-o-ospital and sila iyong may comorbidity. And sometimes, kung may mamatay na isa o dalawa, it’s because of that comorbidity kasi mas malala ang condition niya,” he noted. #