(MNS photo)

MANILA, May 28 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Health said Friday it was eyeing procuring antivirals and vaccines against monkeypox.

Monkeypox vaccination is not yet included in the Philippines’ National Immunization Program, the health agency said in a statement.

The DOH said it was “exploring all possible available sources and expedient legal methods for the procurement of Monkeypox vaccine.”

It said a vaccine has been developed but was “not yet widely available.”

Consultations and review must be held with expert groups and development partners in terms of vaccination and priority population groups, the agency added.

“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,” the statement read.

There are no specific antiviral drugs for monkeypox and its management is symptomatic, according to Dr. Marissa Alejandria, member of the DOH-technical advisory group on infectious diseases.

The disease is transmitted through unprotected contact via respiratory droplets, and has an incubation period of 5 to 21 days, Alejandria said. Symptoms usually include fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headache, chills, sore throat, malaise, and fatigue, she added.

The health agency said it was also coordinating with the Philippine Genome Center and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for the surveillance of monkeypox through RT-PCR testing. (MNS)

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