Bacolod runs out of free anti-rabies vaccines.
Bacolod City - The City Health Office (CHO) stopped providing free vaccines to animal bite patients beginning Friday due to the delay in the delivery of the vaccine for the second quarter of the year.
Dr. Diana Rose Laput, rabies coordinator of CHO, said they were able to provide free vaccines only until Thursday and by Friday, new patients needed to buy the vaccine from pharmacies, or seek treatment from private physicians.
It is unclear when delivery would resume, Laput said, citing the Department of Health (DOH) memorandum dated February 12, issued by Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo of the Office of Technical Services.
The DOH supplies free human rabies vaccines to its regional offices and animal bite treatment centers nationwide.
The department procures two types of intradermal rabies vaccines prequalified by the World Health Organization -- Rabipur and Verorab.
Rabipur is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Ankleshwar, India.
However, GSK suspended the release of Rabipur worldwide after the Chinese government, found last 2017 bacterial residues in more than 25 international units in their allotted supply.
GSK Philippines informed the DOH that such development will affect the delivery schedules of the procurement of Rabipur.
Gloria Parreno, nurse rabies coordinator of CHO, said that with the shortage of free human rabies vaccines, dog and cat owners should have their pets immunized for their own protection.
In the past year, the CHO treated more than 8,500 animal bite patients with vaccines provided by the DOH.
Parreno said they received a total of 5,375 vials -- 3,730 vials of Verorab and 1,645 vials of Rabipur.
She noted that each vial of Verorab can be used for two patients for intradermal injection while each 1 ml. vial of Rabipur is good for five patients.
A vial of human rabies vaccine has a prevailing market price of about P1,500.