MANILA - The administration of the additional half a million doses of Sinovac vaccine, which arrived in the Philippines on April 22, has yet to begin 4 days since they were delivered.
The Department of Health explained it is still waiting for a “certificate of analysis” or COA from the manufacturer for the delivered batch.
“COA kailangan talaga ‘yan para patunay ‘yan na ‘yung bakuna is in accordance with the EUA (emergency use authorization) specification,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“Ito ay dapat makita ng FDA at vaccine cluster na itong batch na ito, OK for distribution,” Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega added.
The COA for the latest batch of Sinovac's COVID-19 jabs is expected to arrive on April 29, but the DOH did not mention the cause of the delay.
“’Yung Sinovac COA darating sa April 29. ‘Yun na ang panahon ng pagdi-distribute sa allocated sites ng Sinovac vaccines,” Vega said.
The shipment of the 500,000 doses earlier brought the Philippines' COVID-19 vaccine stock to 3.525 million, of which at least 1.6 million doses have been administered.
Sinovac jabs form the bulk of the Philippines' vaccine inventory so far, a million of which were donated by China.
Besides the Chinese-based vaccine, the government also expects half a million doses of Sputnik V, which it procured, and 195,000 doses of Pfizer jabs from the COVAX facility this April.
The Philippines aims to vaccinate 70 million people this year or two-thirds of its people this year to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.
The country has one of Asia's worst COVID-19 outbreaks and has faced difficulties securing vaccine supplies.