With arrival of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shots, Duque says he can now be vaccinated

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2021 03:45 PM

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gives updates to President Rodrigo Duterte during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on February 15, 2021.

MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday said it is finally time for him to get vaccinated against COVID-19, following the arrival of AstraZeneca's coronavirus jabs in the Philippines. 

In a forum at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, the country's top health official said AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine could be used for senior citizens like him. 

"Ang maganda po naman sa AstraZeneca ay siya po ay puwedeng gamitin sa 60 years old and above," Duque said. 

"Magpapabakuna na rin po ako pagdating ng AstraZeneca bilang isang doktor na nagbabakuna rin at humaharap sa pasyente at nagi-inspect ng mga healthcare facilities tulad ng mga ospital," the official, who just turned 64 in February, explained. 

(What's good in AstraZeneca is it can be used to people aged 60 above. This is why I will have myself vaccinated as a doctor who vaccinates other patients and who inspects other healthcare facilities like hospitals.) 

Unlike Sinovac’s vaccine, which arrived last Sunday, AstraZeneca shots can be administered to the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. However, it is not yet recommended to those below the age of 18.

Meanwhile, Sinovac's Phase I and II trials in China showed the vaccine could safely trigger immune response for older participants but the firm cautioned that data for the protection rate among people aged 60 and above was "limited."

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Some 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccines arrived in the Philippines on Thursday evening from the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility. This is the second COVID-19 vaccine brand to be distributed in the country.

PH VACCINATION DRIVE 

With the arrival of the British-Swedish drug firm's COVID-19 vaccines, Duque said the inoculation of AstraZeneca's shots might start on Saturday.

Frontliners will still be prioritized, he said, even those who declined to get Sinovac's vaccines.

As of Mar. 4, 2020, 13,629 Filipinos have been vaccinated, of which some 47 had minor side effects that included mild fever, soreness at the site of the injection, and dizziness.

Three people, meanwhile, reported serious side effects but are yet to be verified.

The government has yet to also allocate some 183,440 doses of the Sinovac's vaccine as of Friday. 

The Food and Drug Administration said AstraZeneca's COVID-19 jabs has an overall efficacy rate of 70 percent after the first dose and trials are ongoing to determine the efficacy rate after the 2nd dose.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said senior health care workers would be among to be prioritized in the first batch of AstraZeneca’s vaccines. 

— With reports from Hernel Tocmo