Politics

Philippine coronavirus infections top 900,000

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

CORONAVIRUS infections in the Philippines topped 900,000 after health authorities reported 11,429 more cases on Thursday.

Cases hit 904,285, while deaths reached 15,594 after 148 more patients died, the Department of health (Doh) said in a bulletin. It added that 856 more people recovered, bringing the total to 705,164.

There were 183,527 active cases, 96% of which were mild, 2.8% did not show symptoms, 0.4% were critical, 0.5% were severe and 0.30%, were moderate.

The agency on April 2 reported the highest daily tally at 15,310 cases since the pandemic started last year.

DoH said 24 duplicates had been removed from the tally and 68 recovered cases were reclassified as deaths. Seven laboratories failed to submit data on April 12.

About 10.3 million Filipinos have been tested for the coronavirus as of April 13, according to DoH’s tracker website.

The coronavirus has sickened about 138.9 million and killed three million people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization.

About 111.7 million people have recovered, it said.

Meanwhile, DoH said coronavirus patients may get vaccinated immediately after recovery.

“Individuals who recently recovered from COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) may be vaccinated immediately after recovery or completion of treatment for their first or second dose,” it said in a statement based on an April 8 memo on vaccination guidelines.

Before this, patients who got infected after getting the first dose had to wait for 14 days before getting the second dose. Patients also had to wait three months after recovery to get vaccinated.

People who did not get their second vaccine dose due to medical reasons must coordinate with their vaccination sites for rescheduling.

Those experiencing blood pressure of 180/120 or higher with signs and symptoms of organ damage can’t be vaccinated.

It also said medical clearance is not required except for those with autoimmune diseases, human immunodeficiency virus and cancer patients “undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.

Transplant patients, those undergoing steroid treatment, and patients who are bedridden or with a poor prognosis also can’t be vaccinated.

Comorbid conditions that fall under the prioritization list include chronic respiratory disease and infection, cardiovascular, chronic kidney and cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke and transient ischemic attack, cancer, and types 1 and 2 diabetes.

People with obesity, neurological and chronic liver diseases, immunodeficiency and other illnesses such as sickle cell disease, Thalassemia or Down’s syndrome will also be prioritized for vaccines.

Also on Thursday, presidential spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque said more than 1.2 million coronavirus vaccines have been given out April 13.

He said 1.26 million out of 3.03 million vials have been used. Almost two-thirds or 1.09 million people have received their first dose, while a tenth or 162,065 have received their second dose, Mr. Roque said.

Based on government data, 162,065 people have been fully vaccinated, having received two doses of the vaccine, while 1.09 million more have only received their first shot.

Mr. Roque said the government would sign a supply deal with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology this week for 20 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. About half-a-million doses were expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

The country earlier took delivery of about 500,000 additional doses of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

Vaccine czar Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. earlier said Manila expects to receive as many as 40 million doses of the vaccine developed by America’s Pfizer, Inc.

DoH on Wednesday said 24,823 adverse events after immunization had been reported as of April 11.

About 7,000 non-serious adverse reactions and 164 serious adverse reactions had been reported by people who were given the Sinovac vaccine.

More than 17,000 minor and 206 serious adverse effects had been reported by people who got the AstraZeneca vaccine. These were being investigated, DoH said.

Serious adverse events after vaccination refer to death or life-threatening situations, hospitalization and persistent disability.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday night admitted the country was facing a shortage of coronavirus vaccines due to global supply problems. He said rich countries were being prioritized for the vaccines.

The Philippines is aiming to vaccinate 70 million people this year. More than a million Filipinos have been vaccinated as of Tuesday since the program started last month. — VMMV and KATA

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