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PH to get 1 million Sputnik Light doses this September

September 17, 2021 - Friday 1:09 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The Philippines is expecting to receive the first batch of government-procured one million doses of the one-shot Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine this month and another 190,000 doses of Sputnik V (Component 2), National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Friday.

In a news release, Galvez said Sputnik Light, a variation of the two-dose Sputnik V jab, could hasten the country's vaccination drive toward achieving population protection by the end of the year.

“The Sputnik V Light is more efficient because we will be able to protect more people faster. This would eliminate the problem wherein people fail to return for their second dose,” Galvez said.

The Food and Drug Administration approved in August the emergency use authorization of Sputnik Light from Russia.

Galvez also allayed the concerns of those who have received their first dose of Sputnik V but yet to get the second shot.

“As per our vaccine experts from the Department of Health, the gap between first and second doses of Sputnik V can be as long as six months, so no need to worry because the vaccines are arriving soon,” he said.

“This shipment of Sputnik V vaccines shall be used for the second dose. After this, we will be receiving the single-shot Sputnik V Light as we move forward with our vaccine rollout,” he said, adding that the two-dose vaccine might arrive by the weekend or early next week.

As of Sept. 15, the country has received a total of 57,547,610 vaccine doses from various manufacturers -- over 36 million doses were procured by the national government.

The country has also breached the 40 million mark in terms of Covid-19 jabs administered, with 40,030,388 shots given as of Sept. 15.

This number is composed of 17,675,959 fully-vaccinated individuals and 22,354,429 who have received the first dose.

Over 39 million doses are expected to arrive this September, with 5,647,020 doses already delivered to the country from Sept. 1 to 15.

Caring for the healthcare workers

During the President’s Talk to the People address aired on Thursday morning, Galvez reported the results of his dialogues with the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine College of Surgeons and other health professionals over the weekend.

Among the key issues raised by doctors they wanted the national government to address are the fast-tracking of PhilHealth reimbursement to hospitals; procurement of more doses of anti-inflammatory drug Tocilizumab; provision of enough oxygen cylinders; living quarters for healthcare workers during the granular lockdown; immediate approval of the establishment of oxygen production plants in major hospitals; additional van reefer for cadavers and implementation of the quadrant/sectoring concept of Covid-19 referral hospitals.

Galvez had recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the need to immediately act on the hospitals’ request for more doctors, nurses and other health-related personnel.

“Mister President, ito po talaga 'yung kailangan nating ma-solve, dahil lahat ng ospital, ang kanilang idinadaing ay talagang kulang po sila ng doktor, nurses and other related health workers (Mr. President, these have to be solved because all hospitals have been saying they lack doctors, nurses and other related health workers),” Galvez said.

“Ako po ay natutuwa dahil (I'm glad that) they are committed. Even though they are tired, makikita mo na ang ating (you can see that) Filipino doctors very dedicated po,” he added.

Duterte took note of Galvez’s suggestions and acknowledged the need to beef up the country’s health front-liners.

“We will see what we can do. We will try to look for the money to have more recruits joining this fight against Covid,” Duterte said.

In the same Talk to the People, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) chair and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reported that the allowances had been disbursed to the healthcare workers.

“Mayroon nang 15.1 billion na benepisyong naipamahagi ang ating gobyerno sa atin pong mga healthcare workers simula sa September 2020 hanggang sa kasalukuyan (There have been 15.1 billion benefits distributed to the healthcare workers since Sept. 2020 until the present),” Duque said.

Of this amount, over 13 billion were allocated for special risk allowance (SRA) and active hazard duty pay, while around one billion were for meals, accommodation and transportation, as well as life insurance.

Over PHP500 million were also allocated for sickness and death benefits for the country’s health workers.

“Nagpapasalamat kami Mr. President sa inyo at sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management) sa mabilis na pag-aksyon sa aming request para sa batch 3 and 4 ng SRA payment. Sila po ay nagbigay ng 882 million nitong pinakahuli (We thank you, Mr. President and the DBM for their fast action on our request for batches 3 and 4 of SRA payments. The latest they gave us was 882 million),” Duque said.

Duque said PHP1.23 billion had been requested from the DBM for the fifth batch of SRA beneficiaries.