Duterte to wait for EUA for Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine, says spokesman

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2021 02:49 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2021 03:04 PM

Duterte to wait for EUA for Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine, says spokesman 1
President Rodrigo Duterte monitors the arrival of COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac (SINOVAC) at the Bulwagang Kalayaan in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on Feb. 28, 2021. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for an emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine of Chinese state firm Sinopharm that he prefers over other vaccine brands, Malacañang said on Tuesday. 

"Moot and academic na po iyang tanong na iyan," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, when asked for an update of Malacañang's study on whether or not Duterte could get his vaccine from 10,000 Sinopharm doses approved for his security detail's "compassionate use". 

(That question is moot and academic.)

"Maghihintay na lang po siya (Duterte) ng approval ng Sinopharm," he said in a press briefing. 

(The President will just wait for the approval of Sinopharm.)

Sinopharm applied for an EUA in the Philippines on Monday, the first day of the official COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the country using donated shots developed by another Chinese drugmaker, Sinovac Biotech.

Sinovac, Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been granted EUA for their respective COVID-19 vaccine candidates, although supplies from the last two have yet to arrive in the Philippines.

Duterte said on Sunday his doctor was considering his possible use of a vaccine by another Chinese  pharmaceutical group apart from Sinovac. Roque earlier said the President preferred getting COVID-19 jabs from Sinopharm

Sinopharm said late last year that Phase 3 trials of its coronavirus vaccine found it was 79 percent effective.

"The protective effect of the (Sinopharm CNBG Beijing) vaccine against COVID-19 is 79.34 percent," said the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a Sinopharm subsidiary.

Duterte last year admitted that some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) took unauthorized Sinopharm jabs.

The Food and Drug Administration in February issued a "compassionate use license" for the PSG to take 10,000 Sinopharm jabs.

The Philippines on Sunday received 600,000 doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac, its first vaccine supply since being hit by the pandemic over a year ago.

The country, which has recorded over 578,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Monday, has lagged behind its neighbors in securing vaccines which it hoped to give to 70 million people or two-thirds of the population this year.

- with report from Agence France-Presse

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