Committee on Health alarmed by shortage of anti-rabies vaccines

THE City Council Committee on Health of Cagayan de Oro will pass a resolution urging the Department of Health (DOH) to fast-track the issuance of an order which would allow local government units to purchase anti-rabies vaccine for humans and address the shortage of it.

City Councilor Ma. Lourdes Gaane, Health committee chairperson, said the increasing number of dog bites cases in the city and the lack of vaccine to cure the persons infected even made the situation alarming.

"We have reached an alarming rate because there is not a day when no one gets bitten by a dog, everyday patients keep coming to us but we fear that in the next months we cannot give them vaccines anymore. This is really a big problem now," Gaane said.

Gaane said once the DOH authorizes local government units to purchase from local suppliers, the City Government is ready to allocate an amount to get supplies.

Bulk supplies for anti-rabies vaccines for humans has reached a global shortage caused by the recall of 50 percent of the world's supply.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has tasked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look for new suppliers of the anti-rabies vaccine and address its dwindling supply.

Gaane said she will meet with DOH officials on Thursday, April 19, to discuss measures and actions that needed to be taken before the supply runs out.

The City Health Office earlier said the city supply of the anti-rabies vaccine will only last until this month.

Gaane said once bitten, the victim needs at least three dosages of vaccine. If after 14 days the dog dies, another fourth booster is needed to be injected to the victim.

"The DOH has changed the way people manage dog bites. Before, you first observe the dog that bit you and then you wait then go to the hospital, but now, once you are bitten, you need to immediately go to the nearest hospital and have yourself vaccinated," she said.

Gaane said she echoes the campaign of the CHO that calls for a responsible pet ownership, saying "it is the best option for now".
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