The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is discussing the possible procurement of monkeypox antivirals in case of an outbreak in the country.
Citing the World Health Organization, the DOH said that the monkeypox vaccine is not yet widely available.
“The DOH is exploring all possible available sources and expedient legal methods for the procurement of Monkeypox vaccines,” it said in a message to reporters.
“At present, the DOH is preparing supply chains and logistics services. There are ongoing internal discussions, based on scientific evidence, for the possible acquisition of antivirals in the event of an outbreak or severe cases,” it added.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that one vaccine called Imvamune or Imvanex vaccine has been licensed in the United States to prevent monkeypox or smallpox.
A health expert also said that smallpox vaccines may protect against monkeypox due to “cross-protection.”
Meanwhile, the DOH said it is also coordinating with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Philippine Genome Center regarding laboratory requirements for the monitoring and surveillance of monkeypox.
“On the matter of procurement of any specific brands of RT-PCR tests for Monkeypox, DOH will rely on scientific evidence to guide its decisions for procurement,” it said, adding that it will provide updates once developments have occurred.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said there is no need yet to close down the country’s borders. The Philippines, however, has heightened surveillance and border controls to prevent the entry of the disease.—LDF, GMA News