Evaluation of EUA application for Sinopharm vax may be completed in less than 21 days – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021   •   248

MANILA, Philippines – The evaluation process for the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine will not take long before it can be granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

FDA director-general Eric Domingo said the Sinopharm vaccine has already been included in the emergency use listing (EUL) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and access to its documents, including inspection reports from the WHO will be faster.

“Useful yung kanyang Emergency Use Listing sa WHO kasi before this, wala pa siyang EUA from a stringent regulatory authority katulad ng mga USFDA ganyan or Europe, Japan… hindi pa siya listed sa mga iyon. Pero yung WHO na emergency use listing that’s equivalent to a stringent regulatory authority,” he said.

“Ang maganda sa WHO kasi very transparent ang documents nyan. Available din siya sa FDA. Lahat ng ni-review nila, maaari naming ma-access kaya hindi tayo masyado mahihirapan sa paghingi ng information,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said it has started the process of applying for EUA, pending documents about the vaccine product.

The FDA said the process may take less than 21 days once the DOH completes the application process.

“Kapag ganyan na merong WHO EUL, mas mapapabilis iyan. Nakakaya natin iyan usually less than 21 days,” Domingo said.

The FDA also echoed the DOH’s earlier statement that there are no irregularities with the government’s move to file an EUA for a Chinese-made vaccine since they also applied for the EUA of other COVID-19 vaccine brands, such as Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, in order for these vaccines to be delivered to the country.

“Talagang nasa batas and it’s a worldwide practice,” he said. “Based on WHO guidelines, posible naman na gobyerno gusto bumili ng bakuna na walang local manufacturer or representative dito. In those cases, the government itself can get EUA.”

“Hindi naman conflict yun dahil ang EUA ay hindi naman product registration o marketing authorization lang, talagang for emergency use lang ang mga bakuna,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH logs 6,043 new COVID-19 cases; death toll breaches 24K

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ cumulative tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases  climbed to 1,378,260 on Thursday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 6,043 additional infections.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the number of active cases in the country has reached 51,410.

Of this figure, 90.6 percent are mild, 4.5 percent are asymptomatic, 1.44 percent are moderate, 2 percent are severe, and 1.4 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said only one testing laboratory failed to submit data on time.

The DOH also reported 4,486 more recovered patients, pushing the total recoveries to 1,302,814.

The death toll rose to 24,036 with 108 new fatalities.

The DOH also noted the positivity rate of 12.0 percent out of 46,497 tests reported last June 22.

Philippines to reach 10 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs next week — Dizon

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is expecting to breach by next week the 10-million mark in its COVID-19 vaccination program, testing czar Vince Dizon said Thursday.

In a press briefing with Israeli medical experts, Dizon said the government is close to reaching the targeted 500,000 daily vaccination rate based on the reported doses administered nationwide.

He said that on Wednesday, the Philippines administered over 353,000 doses, the biggest recorded so far.

“The days where we are hitting less than 100,000 are behind us and I think that with the additional vaccine doses that are coming in… the number that we reached yesterday will only get higher in the coming weeks,” he said.

“Our target is 500,000 a day, national. We’re almost there,” he added.

Based on the vaccine statistics presented by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje in the same briefing, the country has already administered over 9.2 million doses as of June 23.

She said 1.6 million individuals under the A1 or first priority group have been vaccinated – one million of them have completed two doses.

Cabotaje also said that 2 million of the 8 million targeted senior citizens and another 2 million of the 7 million persons with co-morbidities have been inoculated.

Among A4 or essential workers in the NCR Plus 8 areas, 642,709 have received their first dose while 8,623 have been fully vaccinated.

For indigents or A5, 110,934 have been given their first dose against COVID-19.

The national government earlier said it is eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year to achieve population protection against coronavirus disease.

Senate mourns death of ex-Pres. Noynoy Aquino

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Thursday expressed their condolences on the passing of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Aquino passed away this morning for still undisclosed reasons. He was 61.

“No matter what political side you’re on, when a former president passes away, the country mourns,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a message to reporters.

“His death diminishes us all. Sincerest condolences from the Senate and my family,” he added.

Senator Grace Poe also paid tribute to the late former president.

“Sa nagbukas ng pinto ng serbisyo publiko para sa atin, maraming salamat sa iyong legasiya ng pagsisilbi nang buong katapatan at dedikasyon. Ipinakita sa atin ni PNoy ang kahalagahan ng mabuting kalooban sa isang pinuno: walang pag-iimbot sa kapwa, malinis ang intensyon, at walang pagkagahaman sa kapangyarihan,” Poe said in a statement.

“Pinapahalagahan namin ang iyong matapat na paglilingkod, PNoy,” she added.

Senator Sonny Angara likewise honored Noynoy’s legacy as he expressed his sympathies to the Aquino family.

“Rest well knowing that in time your own legacy will be remembered as it should be, from a perspective that is objective. You have earned your place in the annals of Philippine history. May the Lord bring comfort to PNoy’s siblings and rest of the Aquino clan,” he said.

Senator Manny Pacquiao also remembered Aquino’s programs during his term as president.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Former President Benigno Aquino III. His love for the country was manifested in his term of service where he championed the ‘Daang Matuwid’ and the ‘Kayo ang Boss Ko,’” he said.

“We are sending our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the beloved family of the former president. His legacy will be remembered,” he added.

Senator Joel Villanueva, who served as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) during the Aquino administration, expressed sadness over the passing of his friend.

“The nation lost a leader, and I, a friend. But he was more than that. He was a mentor, a brother to me,” Villanueva said in a statement.

“If I was Tesdaman, he was the TESDA Godfather. He believed in the great talents of our youth, waiting to be unlocked if given good training, right breaks, and inspiring success stories. By ordering that they be trained, he invested in their dreams,” he said.

Villanueva remembered Aquino as “a simple man, plain Citizen Noy,” after his stint in Malacañang, and “a compassionate tito, never missing the perks and the powers he once wielded.”

“When the passion of the present had died down, a fair assessment of his administration will bear the truth of great achievements, brave decisions and moral leadership,” he said.

“We now commit him to the embrace of our Lord, and his life and works to history’s kind judgement,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who served as Aquino’s rehabilitation czar in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda, said Noynoy served his country “very well with humility, honor, and integrity.”

“It was indeed a privilege to have served with him – both in the Senate and the Executive Department, but more than that, to be his friend,” Lacson said.

“As our country’s leader, he did not deserve to be unappreciated. He served his country very well with humility, honor and integrity,” he added.  “Even as President, he always managed to promptly respond to my messages, no matter how casual and trivial.”

Prior to winning the presidency, Aquino served in the Senate from 2007 to 2010.

He chaired the Senate Committee on Local Government in the 14th Congress and was also vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

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