GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Health personnel in South Cotabato warned residents on Tuesday against the proliferation of counterfeit or fake anti-rabies vaccines for humans in the area.
John Codilla, rabies program focal person of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said they have monitored a number of fake vaccines that were used by animal bite victims, who have sought treatment at the provincial hospital in Koronadal City.
He said they are currently investigating the possible sources or suppliers in the area of the counterfeit items, which carry the Verorab brand.
“We confiscated some of these fake vaccines at the provincial hospital,” he said in a media forum.
Codilla said they have issued advisories to all Animal Bite and Treatment Centers (ABTC) in the province to properly evaluate the vaccines before administering them to bite victims and seize the fake items.
Before using, he urged residents to present the vaccines first to the ABTCs to properly check their validity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert last month regarding counterfeited Verorab vaccines circulating in parts of the country.
It said the “genuine version” of the vaccine is manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, which confirmed that it did not produce the falsified items.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 earlier said at least two brands are currently available and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in the country -- Speeda and Vaccirub.
The DOH had temporarily suspended the procurement of Rabipur, a vaccine recommended by the WHO, after it was found to be contaminated with bacterial residues.
Codilla said the move has so far affected the supply of anti-rabies vaccines, with shortages reported in parts of the country, including Region 12 or Soccsksargen.
He said there are available human rabies vaccines but are limited for advanced cases of infections.
The DOH provides free vaccines to Level 3 patients or persons who were bitten by rabid animals, especially dogs, in the upper part of the body, he said.
In the wake of the shortage of anti-rabies vaccines, Codilla advised residents to avoid resorting to traditional methods like “tandok, bato and dahon.”
He said these had been proven ineffective and could potentially contaminate and worsen the bite wounds. (PNA)
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