Duterte may take second dose from Sinovac if Sinopharm fails to secure EUA – vaccine expert

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021   •   182

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may still get his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine using a different brand should Sinopharm fail to secure approval from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a member of the Philippine vaccine expert panel said Thursday.

Infectious disease expert and vaccine expert panel member Dr. Rontgene Solante said Duterte may be inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine as this brand is similar to Sinopharm.

Duterte was vaccinated on Monday using Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, which has yet to be granted an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

“As long as hindi pa yan [aprubado para sa] emergency use authorization, dapat hindi ibabakuna,” Solante said.

“Iyong second dose pwede niyang (Duterte) ipahabol ang Sinopharm but Sinopharm has to produce the data and submit it to VEP and FDA,” he added.

“Kung halimbawa hindi na pwede ang Sinopharm, meron naman isang bakuna na magkahawig sa Sinopharm, na nabigyan na rin ng approval natin – yung Sinovac… It is possible because they have the same platform,” he further stated.

COVID-19 vaccines made by Sinovac and Sinopharm are both whole virus vaccines that use weakened or deactivated form of the pathogen that causes COVID-19 to trigger protective immunity to it. Inactivated pathogens cannot infect cells and replicate but can trigger an immune response.

Solante said these vaccines can be stored in a standard refrigerator and are administered in two doses.

The FDA earlier said that Sinopharm’s application for EUA remains pending as firms that have filed for its emergency use in the Philippines have yet to submit requirements.

“We also stand by our policy na as long as hindi pa iyan EUA, dapat hindi ibabakuna, that is one. Pangalawa, yung Sinopharm, walang sinu-submit na mga documents sa VEP para ma-assess namin. Kung meron lang sana noon, bago nagpabakuna yung presidente, pwede naman namin i-review tapos we can also give our recommendation to the FDA,” Solante said.

Duterte earlier defended his decision to be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine that has yet to undergo further evaluation and secure EUA from the FDA.

He apologized for using a vaccine that has not been vetted by Philippine authorities then said that he had asked China to withdraw the Sinopharm doses it donated to the Philippines.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s second Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine dose will not be returned to China so he can complete his immunization process. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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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