Filipinos have nothing to fear about being inoculated with the vaccine made by China’s Sinovac, as some world leaders have received the same jab, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the country’s vaccine czar, said Wednesday.
At the same time, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said indications for the use of CoronaVac, made by Beijing-based Sinovac, may still change depending on the results of the discussions of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group.
In President Rodrigo Duterte’s weekly televised address, Galvez said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo all used the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
“This allays fear na ito pong Sinovac ay safe and effective, approved ito ng Food and Drug Administration, 91 percent ang efficacy rate sa Turkey,” Galvez said.
Galvez said several local officials have expressed willingness to join him in getting the Sinovac dose in public to quell fears it is not safe.
He said representatives from the Philippine government, Chinese Embassy, and Sinovac will prepare the documents needed to finalize the delivery date of some 600,000 doses of Sinovac “within this week.”
Galvez said the government will use a military aircraft to ferry the vaccines across the country.
The government will be able to conduct a major rollout of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the third and fourth quarter of the year, he added
“Ang main volume po ng ating mga procurement atsaka ‘yung sa COVAX ay darating po ng third quarter atsaka fourth quarter,” Galvez said in his report to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“So ‘yung ating planning po sa ating vaccination, ang major rollout po talaga natin will be coming from the third quarter and fourth quarter,” he added.
Galvez said they are negotiating with manufacturers for early delivery.
“Nag ne-negotiate din po tayo kahit mapamahal ng kaonti, basta ma-early delivery lang po sila ng second quarter atsaka po nung first quarter. Ayun po ‘yung ginagawa nating technique, ino-offset po natin price. Dadagdan po natin ‘yung prices para mapaaga po,” he said.
The vaccine czar said the Philippines will receive 161 million doses by the end of 2021.
Galvez said 17 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca were also secured in the tripartite agreement with the private sector and the local governments.
He said three more agreements are being polished in terms of the indemnification and terms of delivery.
The delivery of vaccines to the country has been delayed due to the lack of an indemnification fund law, which Congress has just passed on third reading.