COVID-19 Vaccines In The Philippines: All You Need to Know

covid-19-vaccine-in-the-philippines-update

Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

WHOLE VIRUS VACCINE OR INACTIVATED VACCINE (e.g., Sinovac)

The inactivated vaccines contain a weakened or deactivated form of the SARS-COV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) to trigger the body’s protective immunity against it. The inactivated pathogens cannot infect or replicate cells. Instead, they trigger an immune response without causing the COVID-19 illness. This response is intended to build immune memory, which the body can use to fight off the virus in the future. 

The technology behind inactivated vaccines is already well-established and has been used for Hepatitis A, rabies, polio, influenza, and patients with compromised immune systems. One of its highlights, and the reason it arrived first, is that it can be manufactured fairly easily.

It will be administered in two doses through intramuscular injection and may also need booster shots or adjuvant, which will boost the immune response.

Also Read: 9 Promising COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved (by far)

Sinovac, also known as CoronaVac

CoronaVac is a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech. It’s already being administered by countries in Asia, South America, and Europe. In a recent report by the Hacettepe University of Turkey, the vaccine is found to have an efficacy rate of 83.5%. The vaccine is administered in two doses, the second dose being 12 days later after the first.

CoronaVac in the Philippines:

  • February 28, 2021 – 600,000 doses of CoronaVac donated by China arrived
  • March 01, 2021 – The rollout of the 600,000 Sinovac doses began.
  • March 24, 2021 (possible delivery) – 400,000 doses donated by the Chinese government 
  • March 28, 2021 (possible delivery) – 1 million doses procured by the Department of Health

Possible CoronaVac Side Effects include:

(Source: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk)

Side Effects
Very Common (affects more than 10% of people)Pain in the injection siteHeadachefatigue
Common (affects 1% – 10% of people)Swelling, pruritus, erythema, induration in the injection siteMyalgiaNauseaDiarrheaArthralgiaCoughChillsPruritusLoss of appetiteRhinorrheaSore throatNasal congestionAbdominal pain
Uncommon (affects 0.1% – 1% of people)Burn at injectionVomitHypersensitivityAbnormal skin and mucosaFeverTremorFlushingEdemaDizzinessdrowsiness
Rare (affects 0.01% – 0.1% of people)Muscle spasmsEyelid edemaNosebleedsAbdominal distensionConstipationHyposmiaOcular congestionHot flashesHiccupConjunctival congestion
Serious No serious adverse event related to vaccination was identified, although 20 CoronaVac recipients in the Philippines experienced chest pain or difficulty breathing on March 12. This side effect is still being studied and monitored by DOH.

NON-REPLICATING VIRAL VECTOR VACCINE (e.g., AstraZeneca)

These vaccines use a modified but harmless version of the virus called viral vector that is modified to deliver the SARS-COV-2 genetic material. Said genetic material would make a specific SARS-COV-2 protein that the immune system recognizes to trigger as a response, building immune memory so the body can fight off the coronavirus in the future.

Non-replicating viral vector vaccination is another well-established technology that triggers strong immune responses since it involves B cells and T cells. One example of licensed vaccines using this technology is ebola vaccines. Unfortunately, unlike inactivated vaccines, this type of vaccine is more complex to manufacture. It must also be stored at specific low temperatures.

It will be administered in two doses through the intramuscular area. Also, recipients who were previously exposed to the vector virus will experience reduced effectiveness of the vaccine.

Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19, also known as AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19

Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca (a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company). It is found to have an efficacy rate of 76% against the coronavirus after the first dose, which rises to 82% after the second dose, 12 weeks later.

Oxford-AstraZeneca in the Philippines:

  • March 04,  2021 – 525,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the Covax facility arrived.
  • March 07,  2021 – 38,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by the Covax facility arrived.
  • March 12, 2021 – DOH Press Release to continue AstraZeneca vaccination and reassures the public amid AstraZeneca blood clotting reports in recipients from a few countries in the EU.
  • March 15, 2021 – WHO advises countries to keep using the AstraZeneca vaccine
  • March 22, 2021 (possible delivery) – 979,200 doses to be turned over to the Philippine government
  • (yet to be determined) – 17 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines

Possible Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects include:

(Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

Side Effects
Very Common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where the injection is givengenerally feeling unwellfeeling tired (fatigue)chills or feeling feverishheadachefeeling sick (nausea)joint pain or muscle ache
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)swelling, redness or a lump at the injection sitefeverbeing sick (vomiting) or diarrhoeaflu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)feeling dizzydecreased appetiteabdominal painenlarged lymph nodesexcessive sweating, itchy skin or rash
Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data)severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINES (E.G., NOVAVAX)

While the viral vector contains a harmless virus modified from the SARS-COV-2 virus, protein subunit vaccines contain specific pathogen’s proteins. These are proteins that are recognized by the immune system to trigger a response that builds immune memory that the body uses to fight off SARS-COV-2 in the future.

Many licensed vaccines also use this type of technology, for instance, vaccines for Hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, and shingles. This is a guarantee that it is already well-established in the medical scene. Moreover, it is also another advantageous type of vaccine for those with compromised immune systems.

It is also relatively complex to manufacture and may need an adjuvant to boost immune response when administered.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed NVX-CoV2373

Novavax is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax, Inc., an American vaccine development and biotechnology company. It was only recently that the company released the final efficacy rate of their vaccine – a staggering 96.4%

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines:

  • March 16, 2021 – Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. announces that the Philippine government has signed a supply agreement with the Serum Institute of India to acquire 30 million doses of Novavax vaccine to be delivered in the third and fourth quarter of this year.

Possible Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects include:

(Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/)

As a type of vaccine only containing a small part of the COVID-19 pathogen, the Novavax vaccine is less likely to cause strong side effects to recipients. But according to Dr Abisola Olulade of Sharp Rees-Stealy in San Diego, California, it will have similar side effects to the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines, which include (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/):

  • Pain, redness, and swelling in the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

GENETIC VACCINES (E.G., MODERNA, PFIZER-BIONTECH, JOHNSON & JOHNSON)

Genetic vaccines contain a segment of the SARS-COV-2 pathogen (virus) genetic material codes for a specific protein. This can be DNA or RNA. The genetic material will be used by the cells to create the SARS-COV-2 protein, which the immune system recognizes to trigger a response. This will, in turn, build immune memory, allowing the body to fight off the pathogen in the future.

While there are no other licensed vaccines using this technology, genetic vaccines have long been studied for decades. In fact, there were possible mRNA vaccines studied for illnesses and diseases such as influenza, Zika virus, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). In a report by the PHG Foundation of the University of Cambridge, this type of vaccine is safer since no infectious elements are used by producing them.

Genetic vaccines are also relatively low cost and simple, and fast to develop. However, like viral vector vaccines, it must also be stored at specific low temperatures.

Pfizer–BioNTech COVID‑19 vaccine, also called Comirnaty vaccine

Pfizer–BioNTech COVID‑19 vaccine was developed by the German biotechnology company BioNTech in partnership with Pfizer, an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation. The former was the initial developer of the vaccine, while the latter gave support in terms of clinical trials, logistics, and manufacturing.

In a recent press release by Pfizer, the vaccine’s efficacy rate was at least 97% against symptomatic COVID-19 cases and 94% against asymptomatic. It’s also another two-dosethe  series, with the second dose administered after 21 days.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines:April 2021 – 117,000 Pfizer vaccines will arrive

Possible Pfizer–BioNTech COVID‑19 vaccine Side Effects include:

(Source: https://www.who.int/)

Source
Very common (≥1/10)HeadacheArthralgiaMyalgiainjection site painFatigueChillspyrexia (higher frequency after 2nd dose)injection site swelling
Common (≥1/100 to ˂1/10)Nauseainjection site redness
Uncommon (≥1/1 000 to ˂1/100)LymphadenopathyInsomniapain in extremityMalaiseinjection site itching
Rare (≥1/10 000 to ˂ 1/1 000)Bell’s palsy (acute peripheral facial paralysis)
Not known (cannot be estimated from available data)Anaphylaxishypersensitivity

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

This vaccine was developed by Moderna (an American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company),  the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a two-dose regimen of this vaccine conferred 95% protection against Covid-19 virus. The second dose must be administered 21 days after the first one.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines:

  • March 7, 2021 – Through a bilateral deal with the Philippine government, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced that Moderna Inc will soon supply the country with over 13 million doses, delivery will start in the middle of the year.

Possible Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Side Effects include:

(Source: https://www.cdc.gov/)

  • Pain, redness, and swelling in the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine

This vaccine was developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica (a Belgium based division of Johnson & Johnson) in collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School).

While both Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology, the Johnson & Johnson vaccines use double-stranded DNA. Researchers added this DNA to a disabled and modified Adenovirus which will enter the cells. Adenovirus or Adenovirus 26 is a common virus, completely unrelated to the SARS-COV-2 virus, that usually causes colds or flu-like symptoms. It can’t replicate in the body, and will therefore not give the recipient a viral infection.

The body will use the DNA inside the adenovirus to make into RNA which in turn becomes the spike protein of the coronavirus, triggering an immune response of the body. This builds immune memory, so the body can fight off the pathogen in the future.

What makes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine better than the other genetic vaccines is that it only needs to be administered once. It can be stored in refrigerator temperatures for months at a time, while mRNA vaccines require specific cold temperatures with a small leeway to administer once out of storage. It is relatively easier to distribute, maintain, and store, making it appealing for vaccinations in rural areas.

Based on the United State’s Food and Drug Administration analysis, here are the efficacy rates of  the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

  • Overall efficacy rate:
    • 66% globally
    • 72% in the US
    • 64% in South Africa
    • 61% in Brazil
  • 66% effective against moderate-to-severe COVID-19 cases at least 28 days after vaccination
  • 77% effective against severe or critical COVID-19 cases at least 14 days after vaccination
  • 85% effective against severe or critical COVID-19 cases at least 28 days after vaccination

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine in the Philippines:

  • March 1, 2021 – Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Romualdez announced that the Philippines has reserved 6 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, expected to arrive by the second half of the year

HOW TO GET VACCINATED IN THE PHILIPPINES?

The Department of Health released a list of priority groups for vaccination.

Before planning to enlist for vaccination, please identify your priority group below (Source: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDOHgov):

PRIORITY GROUP A

A1Workers in frontline health services
A2All senior citizens
A3Person with comorbidities
A4Frontline personnel in essential sectors, including uniformed personnel
A5Indigent population

PRIORITY GROUP B

B1Teachers and social workers
B2Other government workers
B3Other essential workers
B4Other groups at significantly higher risk for COVID-19 (other than senior citizens and indigent population)
B5Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
B6Other remaining workforce

PRIORITY GROUP C

CThe rest of the Filipino population

To ensure smooth vaccination efforts across the country, walk-ins at vaccination sites are not allowed. Therefore, after identifying your priority group, contact your LGU to enlist in the COVID-19 Vaccine Masterlist. Those under priority group A1 were already enlisted and submitted to DOH on February 15. The rest of the priority groups should enlist before the following deadlines:

  • March 31, 2021 – For those under priority group A2 to A5 and priority group B.
  • June 30, 2021 – For those under priority group C.

When enlisting, vaccine recipients must provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Birthday
  • Sex
  • Address
  • Profession
  • ID (QR code, PhilHealth number, etc.)

After enlisting, wait to confirm your registration and instructions on how to proceed, such as your vaccination schedule.

WHERE TO FIND COVID-19 VACCINES IN THE PHILIPPINES

As of March 15, there are a total of 929 vaccination sites conducting vaccinations in 17 regions all over the country. Some of these vaccination sites are priority regional hospitals listed below.

Note: The list below is subject to change alongside COVID-19 updates by region. You may also contact your LGU or local health center for more information about COVID-19 vaccine sites.

REGIONCAPITAL CITYDELIVERED VACCINEREGIONAL HOSPITALSCONTACT INFORMATION
LUZON
Region 1Ilocos RegionSan Fernando(La Union)38,800 dosesILOCOS TRAINING AND REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTERSAN FERNANDO, LA UNION(072) 607 6418
MARIANO MARCOS MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTERBATAC, ILOCOS NORTE(077) 600 8000
REGION I MEDICAL CENTERDAGUPAN CITY, PANGASINAN0915 906 3375
Region 2Cagayan ValleyTuguegarao31,980 dosesBATANES GENERAL HOSPITALBASCO, BATANESAmbulance Call 24/7:+(63)999-990-7567Administrative Office+(63)998-982-8104
CAGAYAN VALLEY MEDICAL CENTERTUGUEGARAO, CAGAYAN(078) 302 0000
SOUTHERN ISABELA MEDICAL CENTERSANTIAGO CITY(078) 305 0459
REGION II TRAUMA AND MEDICAL CENTERBAYOMBONG, NUEVA VIZCAYA(078) 805 3561
Region 3Central LuzonSan Fernando(Pampanga)82,900 dosesBATAAN GENERAL HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTERBALANGA, BATAAN(047) 237 3635
JOSE B. LINGAD MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITALSAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA(045) 961 2444
MARIVELES MENTAL HOSPITALMARIVELES, BATAAN(047) 935 4617
PAULINO J. GARCIA MEMORIAL RESEARCH & MEDICAL CENTERCABANATUAN CITY(044) 463 8888
TALAVERA GENERAL HOSPITALTALAVERA, NUEVA ECIJA(044) 940 7136
Region 4 – ACalabarzonCalamba91,200 dosesBATANGAS MEDICAL CENTERKUMINTANG IBABA, BATANGAS CITY(043) 740 8307
Region 4 – BMimaropaCalapan25,000 dosesCULION SANITARIUM AND GENERAL HOSPITALCULION, PALAWANArturo C. Cunanan, Jr., MD, MPH, FPLS, CSEE, PhDMedical Center Chief IChief – Culion Sanitarium and General HospitalContact Number: O9471417354
OSPITAL NG PALAWANPUERTO PRINCESA CITY(048) 433 2621
Region 5Bicol RegionLegazpi34,000 dosesBICOL MEDICAL CENTERCONCEPCION PEQUEÑA, NAGA CITY(054) 472 6125
BICOL REGIONAL TRAINING AND TEACHING HOSPITALLEGASPI CITY(052) 732 5555
BICOL REGION GENERAL HOSPITAL AND GERIATRIC MEDICAL CENTER FORMER BICOL SANITARIUMCABUSAO, CAMARINES SUR(054) 473 2244
CARCordillera Administrative RegionBaguio25,600 dosesBAGUIO GENERAL HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTERBGHMC CMPD., BAGUIO CITY(074) 661 7910
CONNER DISTRICT HOSPITALCONNER, APAYAODr. NELSON RIGORChief of Hospital II(074) 442-8096
FAR NORTH LUZON GENERAL HOSPITAL & TRAINING CENTERLUNA, APAYAODR. MARLENE P. LIBATIQUE-LUBOMedical Center Chief I(074) 442-8096
LUIS HORA MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITALBAUKO, MT. PROVINCE0939 903 8048
NCRNational Capital RegionManila278,870 dosesDR. JOSE N. RODRIGUEZ MEMORIAL HOSPITALTALA, CALOOCAN CITY(02) 8294 2571
LAS PIÑAS GENERAL HOSPITAL AND SATELLITE TRAUMA CENTERLAS PIÑAS CITY(02) 8873 0557
SAN LORENZO RUIZ GENERAL HOSPITALMALABON,METRO MANILA(02) 8294 4853
VALENZUELA MEDICAL CENTERKARUHATAN, VALENZUELA CITY(02) 8294 6711
VISAYAS
Region 6Western VisayasIloilo City47,160 dosesCORAZON LOCSIN MONTELIBANO MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITALBACOLOD CITY(034) 703 1350
DON JOSE MONFORT MEDICAL CENTER EXTENSION HOSPITALBAROTAC NUEVO, ILOILO(033) 361 2011
WESTERN VISAYAS MEDICAL CENTERMANDURRIAO, ILOILO CITY(02) 8942 6843
WESTERN VISAYAS SANITARIUMSANTA BARABARA, ILOILO(033) 523 8455
Region 7Central VisayasCebu City110,760 doses (10.3 percent)DON EMILIO DEL VALLE MEMORIAL HOSPITALUBAY, BOHOL(038) 518 8301
EVERSLEY CHILDS SANITARIUMMANDAUE CITY, CEBU(032) 238 6811
GOV. CELESTINO GALLARES MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTERTAGBILARAN CITY(038) 411 4868
ST. ANTHONY MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITALCEBU CITY(032) 418 9477
CEBU SOUTH MEDICAL CENTER FORMER TALISAY DISTRICT HOSPITALCITY OF TALISAY, CEBU(032) 273 3226
VICENTE SOTTO MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTERCEBU CITY(032) 253 9891
Region 8Eastern VisayasTacloban27,650 dosesEASTERN VISAYAS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTERTACLOBAN CITY, LEYTE0935 678 9109
SCHISTOSOMIASIS CONTROL AND RESEARCH HOSPITALPALO, LEYTE(053) 832 1350
MINDANAO
Region 9Zamboanga PeninsulaPagadian30,000 dosesBASILAN GENERAL HOSPITALISABELA CITY, BASILANSITTI NURUSSAMI CASALIN-AMILASANMedical Center Chief I(062) 200-3427, 955-0437
DR. JOSE RIZAL MEMORIAL HOSPITALDAPITAN CITY, ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTEDr. MARIA DINNA VIRAY-PARIÑASMedical Center Chief I(065) 213-6421
LABUAN GENERAL HOSPITALLABUAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR(062) 991 3380
MARGOSATUBIG REGIONAL HOSPITALMARGOSATUBIG, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR0977 756 8712
MINDANAO CENTRAL SANITARIUMPASOBOLONG, ZAMBOANGA CITY(062) 957-1494 – Office of the Chief of Hospital & Cashier(062) 957-1483 – Billing & Claims Unit(062) 926-0177 – Emergency Room
ZAMBOANGA CITY MEDICAL CENTERZAMBOANGA CITY(062) 991 0573
Region 10Northern MindanaoCagayan de Oro39,400 dosesMAYOR HILARION A. RAMIRO SR. MEDICAL CENTEROZAMIS CITY(088) 521 0440
NORTHERN MINDANAO MEDICAL CENTERCAGAYAN DE ORO CITY(08822) 726362
AMAI PAKPAK MEDICAL CENTERMARAWI CITY, LANAO DEL SUR(063) 876 0001
Region 11Davao RegionDavao City53,600DAVAO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTERTAGUM, DAVAO DEL NORTEDr. BRYAN O. DALIDMedical Center Chief II(084) 216-9127 /(084) 216-9131 loc 808/809
SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES MEDICAL CENTERDAVAO CITY(082) 227 2731
Region 12SoccsksargenKoronadal52,950 dosesSULU SANITARIUMJOLO, SULU(062) 991 3380
COTABATO REGIONAL AND MEDICAL CENTERCOTABATO CITY(064) 421 2340
COTABATO SANITARIUMSULTAN KUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO(064) 429 0082
Region 13CaragaButuan23,740 dosesADELA SERRA TY MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTERTANDAG, SURIGAO DEL SUR(086) 211 4306
CARAGA REGIONAL HOSPITALSURIGAO CITY(086) 826 2459
BARMMBangsamoroCotabato City18,400 dosesMaguindanao Provincial HospitalShariff Aguak, Maguindanao
Sulu Provincial HospitalJolo, Sulu0917 711 1300
Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial HospitalBonggao, Tawi-Tawi0918 923 6240
Lamitan District HospitalLamitan City
Basilan Provincial HospitalIsabela City, Basilan

Also Read: How to Acquire COVID-19 Vaccines in CDO