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Updates from The Philippines: New Pharmacovigilance Report Released, Unexpected Deaths of Public Leaders, Lowered Standards for Nursing Board Takers, Restive Mayon Volcano.
May 2023 Pharmacovigilance report adds 137 new reactions; 46 serious including 10 deaths. Government will accept nursing board exam scores of 70-74%, just below passing 75% to address HCW shortages.
Vital Statistics Releases
There are no population statistics updates since 16 March 2023. I will update population vital statistics as soon as these are released. Both the 2022 data and the first sets of 2023 data are expected any day.
May 2023 Pharmacovigilance Report
The May 2023 Pharmacovigilance Report has been released. DOH has not updated vaccines doses administered since 19 March 2023. Thus, the total doses and booster doses remain the same since the March 2023 report. However, the May report adds 137 new suspected adverse reactions, which includes 46 serious reactions of which 10 are deaths.
Other changes in the May update includes 8 new cases of myocarditis bringing total reports of myocarditis up to 30 (out of 112,644 reports). Of those myocarditis cases not still under review or dismissed as coincidental, 12 are now judged to be “product related” increased from 5 in the prior report. 3 new cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome are included (total now increased to 35 cases), 4 new cases of Bell’s Palsy to bring total reports to 38 (13 product-related up from 9 in the April report), and 2 new cases of immune thrombocytopenia (total increased to 11; 5 are judged as product-related).
Increases in adverse reaction by brand of vaccine since April include: -
Coronavac, 22 non-serious, 5 serious
AstraZeneca, 9 non-serious, 4 serious
Comirnaty (Pfizer), 57 non-serious, 32 serious
Moderna, 1 non-serious, 3 serious
Jansen, 2 non-serious, 2 serious.
The 10 new reported deaths bring total deaths up to 2,826. Of the new deaths, 7 were aged 60+, 1 was aged 40 - 59, and 2 were aged 18-39.
Bear in mind that there are currently few to no doses of vaccines being administered in the Philippines. The freshly arrived 391,000 doses of bivalent product will start official rollout on Wednesday 21st of June 2023. No dates for the adverse events are provided, so it is not apparent whether these are new reports, or perhaps updated backlog reports.
Nearly 60% of adverse reactions are in females. Age distribution of reports span all vaccinated age groups.
More Unexpected Deaths of Community Figures
I am hearing so many reports of sudden and unexpected deaths among my networks. Many were very young, in the prime of personal and professional lives. Most do not make the news.
However, where a tragic loss makes the news, the cause of death is generally not revealed, though the unexpected or sudden nature of the death may be noted.
San Juan City Vice Mayor, died on Saturday 18th June 2023 aged only 52. No cause of death has been revealed.
Another community tragedy is the loss of the much loved Ateneo junior high school principle who died unexpectedly last 5th June 2023, aged only 56. I had heard that he had recently been unwell but was successfully treated and had recovered. His sudden passing was a shock to all who knew and loved him.
He is not the first Ateneo Headmaster to die suddenly; Father Salty de Rama died unexpectedly aged 60 last 24 March 2021, reportedly of heart failure. I do not know if he was an early recipient of the Covid-19 vaccines, or whether Covid-19 played any role in his sudden death. Possibly not!
Here is a facebook link by a gentleman called Trevor Cool, sharing persons who passed suddenly in the Philippines this June 2023. Heart rending! Thoughts for the families and loved ones of all persons lost.
Lowering of Nursing Standards to Help Address Personnel Shortfall
DOH Secretary Herbosa has indicated that nursing exam board takers who did not meet the passing score of 75%, but who scored between 70 - 74%, will be accepted to work in government hospitals, issued temporary licenses, to help address health care worker shortages.
Secretary Herbosa is between a rock and a hard place for this situation. Not having sufficient HCW certainly places patient safety at risk. However, allowing non-board passing HCW to work, particularly if they will be working in understaffed (and likely by extension minimally supervised) conditions will also put the safety of all involved at risk. Well qualified and experienced professionals who earned their positions through merit may not all take well to the incursion of undertrained colleagues well.
Would a better solution involve upgrading study centers and training of nurses and other HCW, potentially cost subsidized, to ensure that all staff meet and maintain appropriate passing skill levels?
Philhealth, Securing the Health of the Nation
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is a government corporation attached to the Department of Health. It administers the National Health Insurance Program, which was established to provide health insurance coverage and ensure affordable and accessible health care services for all Filipinos. All employers are mandated to pay into this insurance for their employees with amounts contributed both by employers and employees based on salary rate.
Secretary Herbosa met the board of Philhealth, the team leading the health of the nation on 16th June 2023! Philhealth are Stewards of the People's money that must promptly and efficiently be used to pay for health services that save lives.
Philippines Red Cross is Promoting Booster Shots
PRC is promoting booster shot uptake; there are still soon expiring legacy vaccines available.
Accessible and reliable! Protect yourself and others…. from the 2019 Wuhan strain, before the on-hand remaining vaccines expire when they reach the end of their multiply extended-to-18-months shelf life?
Despite the fact that the vaccines are already known to increase rates of covid-19 and hospitalization in those “up-to-date” compared to unvaccinated and persons not up-to-date.
Despite the known link with myocarditis and heart damage. Despite mass evidence of harm from Pfizer’s own documents.
The fearmongering does fall flat when one sees the screaming headlines “highest in 6 days” but then reads the article to realize that detected cases continue to fall and there have been no new deaths. 726 cases in the population of 110 million; that is a daily new case rate of 0.00066%!
Then there is this. What are we? High risk? Low risk? Who knows? Stay scared? Remember “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?!?!?”. DOH and OCTA have cried wolf far too many times to ever be taken seriously ever again!
Surely it is time to move on. To remove all remaining restriction and testing requirements and get on with life! Time to allow all tourists in unquestioned with regards to covid-19 and untested regardless of vaccination status!
Moving on……. in other news.. the earth is restive.
Earthquakes and Volcano
The 6.3 magnitude earthquake centered in Batangas City on Thursday 16th June 2023, fortunately resulted in no serious damage. It was felt in Metro Manila at a magnitude of about 4 intensity, which shook residents and swayed buildings for a few very long, very unsettling seconds. 39 aftershocks have since been recorded. Earthquakes terrify me… it took hours for me to fully catch my breath, restore my heart from my throat back to my chest, and to stop shaking after the actual shaking stopped!
Philvolcs, Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, provides daily updates on volcanic and other seismic activity in the nation. An interesting site for those so inclined.
Volcanos remind us of the power of Mother nature. Her beauty, her strength, her terror. We humans need to work with her and her wisdom which goes far beyond our own! We mess with her at our own peril! Very much demonstrated in the past 3 years and the decades that led up to now!
Link to the Plandemic 3, The Great Awakening, which broadens understanding, for all those who haven’t watched it yet!
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