MANILA - Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech will most likely be the first to be used to inoculate Filipino health workers and frontliners against COVID-19, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
Eric Domingo said that, since the Philippines will be getting its supply of vaccines from the World Health Organization, the inoculation shots produced by the US-based drugmaker may be used first as WHO has, so far, listed only Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
"'Yan ang forecast ko, dahil as of now I know (WHO) has only given emergency listing to Pfizer. So kung magdi-distribute sila, ang tingin ko 'yun 'yung unang idi-distribute," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
Domingo said jabs from British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca are next to be listed by WHO for emergency use.
WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe had said that once the WHO includes AstraZeneca in its emergency use listing, “this could potentially free up the movement of vaccines to the Philippines through the 2nd allocation in late February or March.”
"Ito talaga most likely ang una nating gagamitin kasi sila na 'yung mga tinanggap ng WHO," Domingo said.
The FDA has previously granted emergency use authorization for both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said earlier that the Philippines is set to receive 117,000 initial doses of Pfizer jabs from the COVAX facility, an initiative that aims to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines.
The country is also expecting at least 5.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, also through the COVAX Facility, within the first quarter of the year.
Galvez said the Philippines will apply for an additional 900,000 Pfizer vaccines from the same initiative to inoculate the country's health workers.
The country, which has registered 530,118 COVID cases, aims to inoculate up to 70 million individuals to achieve herd immunity against the deadly disease.