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Warning: Questionable Anti-rabbies Vaccine
« on: November 17, 2007, 08:54:54 AM »
By Rey Anthony Chiu
Philippine Information Agency
Bohol Correspondent


Nursing students who pre-expose themselves to rabies by taking rabies shots may not be that safe after all.

Local health authorities have leaked about the proliferation of “questionable” vaccines in the local market.

Some of these vaccines, which have been brought for administration by dog bite victims in the animal bite and treatment centers in the province have traces of what practitioners would call as “having gone out of the cold chain” far too long.

Vaccines, which are procured outside the country goes through a long handling process and all along, it must be kept in refrigerated environment to keep the vaccines alive.

The vaccines noted here may have reached Bohol, through the black-market.

Alarmed health authorities theorized that these could have gone out of its refrigerated containers long enough to kill the virus.

Taking the vaccines out so they could not be declared as such saves a shipper a big amount for the higher costs of handling specialized medical cargo.

Current nursing curricula allows nursing students to take a subject in community health nursing, one which would actually immerse the students in real life community nursing. The immersion also exposes them to the risk of rabies as they could get dog bites.

To be exposed to the danger and still keep the threat away, students per-exposed themselves to the rabies virus by getting introductory shots to get immunities.

The question however now lies on whether the vaccines they used to pre-expose themselves are still effective, warns Provincial Health authorities during the recent Provincial Rabies Prevention and Eradication Assessment at the Bohol Tropics, Wednesday.

Sources at the drugstores also accordingly revealed that the vaccines were hand delivered to them by dealers who have the vaccines in paper bags with cold packs, and not in regulated containers.

Telltale signs that the vaccines went through the black-market is that the markings in the vial are of the Thai language, some of them have the red cross mark erased, confessed local authorities.   

“These are legitimate vaccines but to escape the taxes and other duties, some shippers do not declare them as vaccines and take them out of the cold chain for too long to ship them to the destination. In the process, a dead virus introduced into the body would not actually help the body get the immunities,” a medical practitioner shared in an interview.

Provincial Health authorities have accordingly notified the local Bureau of Food and Drugs about the concern, but Board Member Ma. Theresa Camacho-Lejos believe the concern merits an investigation by the provincial junta.

Camacho Lejos then said she will bring the issue up for consideration by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in their session Tuesday.


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