P1-M flu vaccines for health aides proposed in San Juan

H1N1 funding for San Juan

P1-M flu vaccines for health aides proposed
By FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD
August 2, 2009, 5:44pm
Manila Bulletin

An ordinance seeking the allocation of P1 million for the immediate purchase of swine flu vaccines that will be given to public health workers in San Juan City has been filed by a city councilor.

San Juan City Councilor Dante E. Santiago said the ordinance to be known as “Battle Against Swine Flu Virus” Ordinance, is timely considering the danger posed by the deadly Influenza A(H1N1) virus to the health or well-being of health workers who risk their lives to help patients already affected by the disease. He said that the flu vaccines, once purchased, will be given and administered for free to all public health workers in the city whether employed by the city government or by the barangays.

“This will give them (health workers) protection (from the virus) as they are in the frontline of the ongoing battle against swine flu,” Santiago said.

Santiago said that pregnant women who are bonafide residents of San Juan City will also be given priority in availing of the free flu vaccines of the city.

He also explained that once the ordinance is implemented, the San Juan City Medical Center and the City Health Offices of San Juan City will draft rules and regulations to support of the ordinance, adding that the office of the city mayor may also create an ad hoc committee.

Santiago, in filing the resolution, explained that no less than Marie-Paul Kieny, World Health Organization Director on vaccine research reported that the A(H1N1) pandemic is unstoppable and that all countries would need to have access to vaccines.

He said that Britain, Thailand and the Philippines all reported recent deaths, while Saudi Arabia shut down an international school after 20 students were diagnosed with the Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

“The swine flu vaccine, which is being prepared by the major drug companies, should be available as early as September and there is a need for all countries to protect themselves,” Santiago said in the resolution.

“The same WHO official suggested that other groups that should be also be given priority in availing of the vaccine include pregnant women and anyone over six-month-old who has chronic health problems,” he added.

Santiago said research shows that more than 90,000 swine flu cases have been reported worldwide, including 429 deaths.