Davao City to create team to look at side effects of COVID-19 vaccines

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 February) – The City Government of Davao is set to create a local committee, composed of medical health experts, that will look at the side effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that the city will administer to its constituents.

This after the City Council of Davao passed last Tuesday an ordinance for the implementation of the COVID-19 immunization program.

Authored by 3rd District Councilor Mary Joselle D. Villafuerte, M.D., the ordinance provides for the creation of the “Local Adverse Effects Following Immunization” (AEFI) Committee, whose members will be selected from practitioners in the following fields of expertise: pediatrics, neurology, virology/microbiology, epidemiology, immunology, forensic pathology and other medical experts in the field of geriatrics, adult medicine and infectious disease.

The functions of the committee include, among others, the review of all reported serious and minor cluster AEFI cases presented for expert opinion and provide final causality assessment of the AEFI cases; ensure evidence-based causality assessment by recommending further investigation and data collection as needed; and, make final decisions on causality assessment of inconclusive investigations.

It is also tasked to ensure that the standard protocols for AEFI surveillance and investigation are correctly followed; engage with other national experts when requirements arise in establishment of causality and vaccine quality issues; provide recommendations to the City Health Office (CHO) and Department of Health-Davao (DOH-Davao), Epidemiology Bureau and Food and Drug Administration on improving immunization service delivery, compliance with injection safety and effective vaccination management based on lessons from the AEFI cases; serve as technical advisory group to the CHO on vaccine and immunization safety-related issues; and serve as resource person in other AEFI related meetings, conferences or capacity-building activities as requested.

CHO acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez announced last January 20 that the city government will receive initial doses of Pfizer-manufactured vaccines by the last week of this month.

He said that the city government will also procure AZD1222, the vaccine jointly developed by the British firm with Oxford University, and has already initiated talks with Janssen Pharmaceuticals of Johnson & Johnson to procure additional vaccines.

The ordinance provides that the COVID-19 immunization program will apply to all residents of the city and non-residents who may be found within the territorial jurisdiction of the city during the effectivity of the program.

It added that the local government will follow a community-based framework in executing the program, which “will treat barangays and other community subsets as active partners in program execution in order to ensure thorough immunization coverage of persons, adequate and equitable access to the vaccine and proper post-immunization attention and monitoring.

The framework will be drafted by the CHO, as lead implementer of the vaccination program in the city, and DOH-Davao.

As of February 3, the DOH-Davao reported 17,680 new cases, with 2,753 active, 14,207 recoveries and 720 deaths.

Out of the total, Davao City reported 11,834 cases, with 9,801 recoveries and 560 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 924, Davao del Norte with 2,456, Davao del Sur with 1,218, Davao Occidental with 192 and Davao Oriental with 921. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)