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Pneumonia vaccine indirectly strengthens body vs COVID-19, says expert
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MANILA, (Mabuhay) — Vaccination against pneumonia helps the body indirectly strengthen itself against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a pediatric specialist.

Dr. John Ong urged the Philippines to continue using the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) 13 as the country grapples with the coronavirus menace.

“If you are inoculated for pneumonia, you are indirectly strengthening your body’s defenses against COVID-19,” he said in a radio interview.

Pneumonia is one of the potential complications of COVID-19.

Ong said the Philippines must stick to the broad-spectrum PCV 13, which combats 13 pneumococcal strains, rather than the PCV 10 because it is “more cost-effective.”

He also cited a Department of Health study showing that, with PCV 13, the country had “fewer cases of pneumonia, we had fewer deaths.”

“So, our experience shows that it’s still better if we use the more effective, rather than the cheaper, vaccine,” Ong added.

A health expert from El Salvador earlier urged the Philippines to continue using the “superior” PCV13.  (MNS)

ALSO READ: DOH halts use of HIV drug combination for hospitalized COVID-19 patients

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Philippines warned vs. new wave of HIV infections amid COVID-19 crisis
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MANILA, (Mabuhay) — A new wave of the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections might spread in the Philippines if the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impede country’s access to medical services against  AIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS said.

UNAIDS warned that a second wave of the HIV epidemic might occur in the Philippines if the COVID-19 pandemic continues to block the country’s access to medical resources such as testing  and other treatment services.

The group LoveYourself Inc. said it is continuing its advocacy to hand out free medicine to HIV/AIDS survivors despite the lockdown in some areas in Metro Manila.

LoveYourself Inc. executive director Dr. Ronivin Pagtakhan also said he is worried that HIV testing was halted amid the lockdown.

He said many Filipinos had not been tested with the illness for almost four months.

“The sad thing is the number of people that we test suffer so we were not able to test many people and sa regular day pa lang namin we test eight to 12 newly-diagnosed, How much more ngayon? I dont think we should call it as second wave because we were not able to fully manage the first one,” Pagtakhan said.

Moreover, he said LoveYourself Inc. has also distributed test kits for its clients so they can self-screen amid the health crisis.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country’s stock of antiretroviral medicines for HIV  was enough to last until next year.

“The DOH has secured stocks of antiretroviral drugs for HIV up until next year. There is also still an ongoing procurement for this drug so we won’t have any shortages,” Vergeire said.

Based on the data of HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines, 78,069 Filipinos have been infected with AIDS in the country since 1984.

As of May 2020, a total of 187 were newly-diagnosed aged from 13 to 55 years old. (MNS)

ALSO READ: Pneumonia vaccine indirectly strengthens body vs COVID-19, says expert

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ABS-CBN franchise lies with Congress not with Duterte admin — DOF
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MANILA, (Mabuhay) — Issues regarding the franchise of embattled ABS-CBN Corp. are not with the administration but with Congress, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who heads the economic cluster.

Dominguez on Wednesday said the franchise issue of ABS-CBN lies strictly with Congress, even as President Rodrigo Duterte earlier threatened to oppose the franchise renewal.

“The fact that ABS-CBN does not have its franchise is not an administration issue,” he said during the Pre-SONA virtual presser on Wednesday.

“Franchises are not provided by the administration, they are provided by the Congress, so that issue is strictly with them,” he added.

To recall, Duterte consistently threatened to oppose the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, as he earlier claimed the network did not air political advertisements during the 2016 election campaign which were already paid for.

Several business groups such as the Makati Business Club called on Congress to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN to ensure equal treatment of all businesses and effectively boost investor sentiment.

According to Dominguez, such franchise issues have not had a significant impact on foreign investments so far.

“We have not seen any direct result of a slowdown in investment because of the ABS-CBN issue. We have seen a slowdown, yes, but that is essentially because of the COVID pandemic,” he said.

The latest data available from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) show that foreign direct investments (FDIs) fell 18.5% to a net inflow of $622 million in March.

“Most companies around the world, here and abroad, are keeping their money in cash in case they experience a drop in demand or any other problems with their own company so investments is down around the world,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez also noted that the Philippine government raised $2.35 billion in bonds, which indicating investor confidence in the Philippines. (MNS)

ALSO READ: Palace calls for conscience vote on ABS-CBN franchise as hearings wrap up

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Meet the Filipina American ensuring Californians fill out the 2020 Census
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As the United States’ decennial population count is underway in the midst of the pandemic, one Filipina American is tasked with making sure California residents, particularly those that are the hardest-to-count, respond to the 2020 Census. Going into July, the state’s self-response rate now stands at 63.2%, but Ditas Katague, director of the California Complete…

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Filipino international students across the US grapple with uncertainty over new ICE rule that may force many to leave the country
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When the current COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, many university students found themselves wondering whether they’d return to campus from spring break or continue the rest of the semester away from campus to stay safe from the virus spread. As students again played the waiting game during summer break, international students were suddenly hit…

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WHO says airborne spread of coronavirus is possible amidst growing evidence
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US tops 3 million COVID-19 cases Despite having downplayed airborne transmission of COVID-19 as rare, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged on Thursday, July 9 the possibility of the coronavirus lingering in the air and spreading between people in crowded indoor spaces. The change in stance came after over 200 experts earlier this week signed…

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Palawan recognized as ‘best island in the world’
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PALAWAN has reclaimed the top spot in international travel magazine Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Islands” list for 2020. The world-renowned tourist destination garnered 94.83 points in the magazine’s survey, besting 24 other islands in the world “Though it’s difficult to reach from many parts of the world, once travelers get there they can dive…

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