Duterte defends decision to take Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine jab

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021   •   210

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday defended his decision to be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinopharm that has yet to undergo further evaluation and secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In a taped speech on Wednesday night, Duterte stressed that his vaccination was legal as it was covered by the compassionate special permit (CSP) issued by the FDA in February.

“Ako mismo ang nagpaturok. It is the decision of my doctor. Anyway, it’s my life,” he said.

“Just before this meeting started, I had a talk with the ambassador. Sabi ko sa kanya, ang mga experts nagsabi na wala pang ano ito, hindi dumaan ng examination sa atin. Ang ibinigay ay compassionate use,” he added.

“Ibig sabihin, magamit mo, compassionate. Kaya lang, maybe it’s not acceptable to them but it’s legal actually. When the government allowed it for compassionate use, that in itself is an authority for people to be injected. Pero kakaunti lang naturukan nito,” he further stated.

The FDA earlier said that the dose given to Duterte on Monday night was part of the 1,000 doses of Sinopharm donated by the Chinese government. These are covered by the FDA’s CSP for the legal administration of the 10,000 doses of Sinopharm in the country.

“We are sorry that we committed the things that you are criticizing us for. We accept responsibility,” he said, apparently addressing those who criticized his choice of vaccine.

Duterte said he has already asked China’s ambassador to the Philippines to withdraw all Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses from the country.

“Here’s the deal, sinabi ko kay Ambassador… sabi ko tanggalin mo na lang. You withdraw all Sinopharm vaccines. All 1,000 of them. Huwag ka na magdala ng Sinopharm dito para wala ng gulo. Sabi ko, ibigay mo na lang sa akin Sinovac,” he said.

The 76-year old president earlier expressed preference for Sinopharm vaccine.

Delivery of 50K doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines moved to a later date — NTF

Robie de Guzman   •   June 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The delivery of some 50,000 doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been deferred, National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.

Galvez said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has informed the Philippine government that the delivery of additional Sputnik V vaccine doses will be moved to a later date due to ongoing upgrades and latest developments on the vaccine.

The vaccine jabs were supposed to be delivered on June 20.

Galvez said no definite date has been set for the delivery of the vaccines.

These doses were intended as the second dose for those who were inoculated with the brand’s Component I vaccines earlier this month.

“We have already informed all local government units who have administered the first dose of Sputnik V to their constituents that the schedule for the second shot will likewise be pushed back and will be rescheduled,” Galvez said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, assured the public that the delay in the delivery of the brand’s Component II will not compromise the vaccine’s efficacy.

“So wala pong epekto yung kaunting delay, it will even be more ideal for efficacy na madelay yung second dose ng Sputnik V,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Nagkaroon na po ng communication yung EUA (emergency use authorization) ng Sputnik V ay papaamyendahan po, apparently mas mataas po ang efficacy kung mas matagal ang period ng first dose sa second dose,” he added.

The NTF said the country’s Food and Drug Administration is currently studying the request of Gamaleya Research Institute, developer of Sputnik V, to amend the interval period between the two doses of the vaccine.

Gamaleya wants to extend the interval period to 90 days from the current 21 days.

The Philippines has so far received 180,000 doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Albay LGU calls for additional COVID-19 supply due to surge of cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2021

The Albay local government is calling for additional vaccine doses for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) amid the surge of cases in the province.

During a virtual public briefing on Wednesday (June 23), Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara reported that the province has recorded 1,958 active cases as of Wednesday.

He also reported that the province has enough machines for their laboratory testing in regional hospitals but there are delays in releasing the test results.

Bichara said there are not enough COVID-19 vaccines delivered to the province.

“Ang dumating sa aming ay 6,000 plus vaccines, pero ang dapat na bakunahan namin ay 46,000 from A1 to A4 [Priority Group],” he said.

(Only 6,000 vaccines arrived but we need to vaccinate 46,000 individuals from the A1 to A4 Priority Group.)

Bichara said vaccinating essential workers is necessary to prevent the further spread of the virus in the province.

The Albay official also belied reports that the region will experience a similar situation in India. He added that several COVID-19 patients prefer private hospitals while others refuse to be isolated in quarantine facilities and would rather stay at home.

“Iyong iba naman maliit ang bahay, mahahawa ang buong pamilya. Kadalasan, ganoon ang nangyayari. Nagkakaroon ng family transmission kaya ubos ang pamilya, puro positive,” he said.

(There is not enough space in some houses so the entire family gets infected. That’s what usually happens. There is family transmission so all the family members are positive)

Meanwhile, Bichara said residents would rather not have the region be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). He assured that the situation in the region is not as dire compared with other areas. He reported that he met with mayors in the region to discuss stricter guidelines under general community quarantine.

“Pinatigil pa namin ang mga karaoke at may liquor ban. May curfew sa ibang bayan,” he said.

(We imposed a karaoke and liquor ban. There is a curfew in several areas.)

Medical experts in Bicol previously recommended putting the region under heightened quarantine restriction due to the increasing of COVID-19 cases. AAC

DOH exec: PH to receive 2.2 million AstraZeneca doses on June 23

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is set to receive on Wednesday, June 23, around 2.2 million more doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the vaccine-sharing global initiative COVAX Facility, a health official said.

During the Laging Handa public briefing on Tuesday, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said the incoming vaccine doses will be allotted for priority groups including healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with underlying medical condition (A3), and indigent population (A5).

“Bukas – kararating lang ng balita – na makakatanggap tayo ng 2.2 million AstraZeneca galing sa COVAX Facility,” she said.

Cabotaje also announced that around 150,000 doses of Moderna vaccine and some 1.5 million Sinovac doses are expected to arrive this week.

“Tapos magmula po ng July haggang September, inaasahan natin ang 1 million doses ng Sinovac every week ang darating,” she added.

Vaccine czar Carlit Galvez Jr. earlier said that around 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccines from various manufacturers will be delivered within this month.

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