By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) said that it “slightly” changed its vaccination protocols when it comes to animal bites due to the shortage of human anti-rabies vaccine.
“Unfortunately, we were told by GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) that they are still unable to supply us (human anti-rabies vaccine)… so we have to make slight changes in the protocols,” said Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo during a recent media forum.
Domingo said that they have decided to reduced the five standard anti-rabies shots for animal bites.
“Our criteria for doing things have changed a little,” he said.
“For example, one is bitten by a dog, after the first and second doses and the dog did not die after 14 days, that would mean you don’t have rabies. Therefore, we will not give the succeeding shots anymore,” said Domingo.
Domingo assured that the change in dosage will not affect the health of the animal-bite victim.
“We are certain about it. Because if a dog has rabies, it will die within 14 days. So if it remains alive within 14 days, it means it was not able to transmit rabies to the victim,” he said.
Also, to help in addressing the problem, the DOH previously intensified its campaign on animal vaccination program to help prevent the spread of rabies.
“One of the big strategies right now is to ask everybody to have their dogs and cats vaccinated, kasi wala naman tayong shortage ng bakuna para sa hayop,” he said.
The DOH has also allowed its regional offices to purchase human anti-rabies vaccine to small suppliers.
“Right now, meron naman ibang sources…our regional offices now are purchasing from smaller companies, hindi na yung malalaking kumpanya, pero syempre taghirap parin,” he said.
[Right now, we have other sources…our regional offices are purchasing from smaller companies, instead of bigger companies, but of course, it is still not enough.]
Domingo said that the shortage in supply came after the GSK learned that vaccines from their China factory were contaminated. He said they are still uncertain when will the supply of human anti-rabies vaccine will normalize.