UST Hospital (USTH) is in talks with pharmaceutical firm Unilab, the local distributor of the Covavax Covid-19 vaccine for the private sector, for the procurement of vaccines for its employees’ immediate family members.

USTH and Unilab officials discussed the details of the vaccination in a meeting on Monday, April 5, which was streamed live on Facebook.

The vaccination drive aims to inoculate USTH employees, their immediate family members and their extended family members (only if they are living in one compound) with the Covavax vaccine.

Unilab Medical Director Dr. Nancy Bermal said the Covovax vaccine has shown a 96.4-percent efficacy rate against the original Covid-19 strain.

It was also found to be 86.3-percent effective against the UK strain and 48.6-percent effective against the South African variant.

Fourth-year allied health students of the University will be eligible for inoculation, based on the vaccine priority list set by the government.

UST Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Prof. Cheryl Peralta said the administration was coordinating with USTH for the students’ inoculation.

The Covovax vaccine was developed using the spike protein of SARS-Cov-2, which is common to all Covid-19 variants.

Bermal said the vaccine could cause mild side effects such as headache, fatigue and muscle pain. 

She stressed that the vaccine is safe to be administered to adults (18 years old and above), people with co-morbidities, people with weak immune systems and women past the first trimester of pregnancy.

Government-procured Covovax vaccines are expected to arrive in the third quarter of 2021 or about July, pending emergency use authorization of the Food and Drug Administration.

Unilab will provide 7 million doses of the Covovax vaccines to industrial workers in hospitals and other essential industries.

USTH as vaccination center

During the meeting, Unilab Vice President for Sales and Channel Development John Dumpit expressed interest in partnering with the USTH for the screening, monitoring and managing of the vaccines. He said the campus was “fantastic for mega-site vaccination” due to its size. 

USTH Medical Director Charito Malong-Consolacion said the hospital was willing to work with Unilab for inoculation.

On March 26, the Commission on Higher Education said the USTH would be used as a Covid-19 vaccination center for the government’s expanded inoculation drive.

Dr. John Pua, head of the UST Covid-19 Vaccine Logistics Task Force, told the Varsitarian that there had yet to be an official communication about the use of the USTH as a vaccination site.


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