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Vax drive forges ahead with new doses arriving

A total of 487,200 doses of COVID 19 vaccine from AstraZeneca will arrive in the country at 7:30 p.m Thursday, Senator Christopher Go said Wednesday.

Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography, said the government received a letter about the scheduled arrival of the vaccines.

The vaccines were supposed to arrive on March 1.

Go said he and President Rodrigo Duterte will witness and receive the vaccines at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

Go, also a former presidential aide said the vaccines came from the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility. He said this was good news for medical frontliners, who could now choose between the Sinovac vaccine from China or the jobs from AstraZeneca.

The Palace said it was confident that the government’s vaccination program against COVID-19 would not be interrupted by supply problems.

In a radio dzBB interview, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said aside from the AstraZeneca doses from the COVAX Facility, 1 million more doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech would be arriving soon.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday said the Philippines will buy 1 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine worth P700 million within the month.

Roque also said that vaccine doses from the COVAX Facility, which were supposed to arrive on March 1, would arrive within the month.

Meanwhile, amid a call from health workers to see the clinical trial findings for the Sinovac vaccine from China, the Department of Health (DOH) said only the Chinese company had the right to publish its findings.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to release the late-stage clinical trial data that China’s Sinovac Biotech submitted to the agency, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Thousands of Sinovac doses are now being rolled out across the country as the only available COVID-19 vaccine.

“The FDA doesn’t have any authority at all to publish data that are not theirs. These data that have been submitted to them were a requirement submitted by the manufacturer, but the FDA does not own this data,” Vergeire said in a briefing.

Vergeire said government and immunization experts were able to study Sinovac’s unpublished data before recommending the vaccine for health workers despite its lower efficacy of 50.4 percent in the said group.

Citing data from Sinovac’s vaccine dossier, the DOH’s resident epidemiologist said last week that the vaccine showed 72 percent efficacy against moderate COVID-19 and 100 percent efficacy against severe disease.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, meanwhile, said the Sinovac vaccine was already undergoing review by the Health Technology Assessment Council, an independent advisory body.

The FDA said it has yet to start its review of the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese state firm Sinopharm due to incomplete documents.

The EUA application of Southmed Pharma, which seeks to be Sinopharm’s local distributor, lacked documents like clinical trial results and certificate of good manufacturing practice for the vaccine, said FDA Director General Eric Domingo.

Domingo made the clarification a day after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for the FDA to issue an EUA on Sinopharm before getting the jab.

In other developments:

* The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) said to support the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, it is planning to buy 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines for economic frontliners to safeguard the entrepreneurs and workers who are at the forefront of the country’s socio-economic development.

* Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday expressed gratitude to Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union for the incoming shipment of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines. Locsin made the statement after Malacañang announced that the

Philippines will receive 487,200 doses of the vaccine developed by the British-Swede pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on Thursday, March 4.

* The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it is now considering other options for COVID-19 vaccine for the officials and employees of the judiciary if AstraZeneca vaccines are not available.

Topics: COVID 19 vaccine , Christopher Go , Rodrigo Duterte , medical frontliners
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