MANILA — Two Chinese makers of vaccines against the novel coronavirus will seek emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines "sometime this week", Manila's envoy to Beijing said on Monday.
An EUA will authorize a vaccine's use in the Philippines after a quicker than usual, 21-day study by the Food and Drug Administration.
Beijing-backed Sinopharm and Sinovac plan “to file [their EUA application] in the next few days, sometime this week,” Ambassador Chito Sta. Romana said in a press briefing.
Some members of President Rodrigo Duterte's security team earlier received possibly smuggled shots of the Sinopharm vaccine, officials said.
Last week, China approved its first COVID-19 vaccine for general public use, a shot developed by Sinopharm.
Sinovac's application for general use in China is pending and the firm expects to “hear from the authorities sometime this month, hopefully by the middle of January,” said Sta. Romana.
China has used both Sinopharm and Sinovac jabs to vaccinate around 1 million people under its emergency use program, he said.
Video courtesy of PTV
The Philippines aims to rollout the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination program in the coming months.
As of Sunday, the country has recorded 477,807 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 20,292 active infections, 9,244 deaths, and 448,258 recoveries.
The Philippines' first confirmed COVID-19 case was reported on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged in late 2019.