South Cotabato health authorities counter fake rabies vaccine

Koronadal City–With the discovery of counterfeit human rabies vaccine in South Cotabato, health authorities here immediately launched an investigation to curb the proliferation of fake vaccines.

John Codilla, Rabies Program Focal Person, cautioned the public to present first the vaccines to Animal Bite Treatment Centers (ABTC) to check its validity.

“We have released an advisory to all accredited ABTC to evaluate the vaccine before administering it to the patient,” Codilla said.

He said the ABTC in South Cotabato Provincial Hospital has confiscated and monitored fake vaccines.

“We don’t have enough human rabies vaccine as of this time,” he stressed out. However, DOH gives out free vaccines to Level 3 patients or person whose dog bites are at the upper part of the body.

The South Cotabato Provincial Hospital caters at least 150 cases of dog bites every day, according to Codilla.

Traditional cure for dog bites still exists in the province such as tandok, bato, and Dahon.

“A child died because of rabies last January because the family believes that tandok way could sip the virus out,” Codilla revealed.

There are eight government-owned and two private ABTC in South Cotabato. The newest DOH-accredited ABTC is the Polomolok Rural Health Unit.

Meanwhile, since the human rabies vaccine is pricier than dog vaccine, the Bureau of Animal Industry released 80, 000 doses of dog vaccines in South Cotabato to curb rabies virus.

Dr. Ramelo Quinton, Provincial Veterinary Officer III, said vaccination is an essential step towards a healthy immune system for pet and help prevent the spread of rabies and other diseases.

“We are aiming for a rabies-free South Cotabato by 2022 and dog vaccination is the initial step to attain it,” he pointed out.

The Provincial Veterinary targets 50, 000 dogs for vaccination this year. PVET plans to give out dog vaccines to 60 percent of the target dog population in the first semester. At present, PVET could vaccinate at least 80, 000 dogs based on the available vaccines inventory.

“Dog immunization is still the cheapest way to curtail the spread of rabies virus,” Quinton added.