FDA set to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2021 12:38 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2021 05:49 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it will release its decision on the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine by Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We are finalizing the EUA by Pfizer, and it will be out in 1 or 2 days,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo told senators during a hearing on vaccines.

This would be slightly ahead of the initial deadline or target date of January 14 set by the FDA.

“Yung AstraZeneca... we’re confident we will be able to finish the process by middle of January,” he added.

Pfizer and its partner firm BioNTech filed for emergency use in the Philippines before Christmas last year. AstraZeneca, which partnered with the Oxford University, filed for EUA last week.

Because of the EUA powers given to the FDA, through an executive order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte late last year, the usual approval process that lasts 6 months can be reduced to about 21 days.

However, vaccines approved through the EUA can only be used and procured by the national government. Without a full marketing license, the vaccines cannot be purchased directly by local government units and the private sector.

There has been a lot of pressure on the government to approve COVID-19 vaccines for use as other countries have already started their inoculation programs. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez on Monday said the soonest vaccine shipment is expected on February 20.

In the meantime, the national government encouraged interested parties to partner with them for procurement. Health workers and senior citizens are among the sectors being prioritized for the national immunization program.

Domingo previously said that while they are able to immediately approve the vaccines, its supply to the Philippines will depend on the availability of stocks.