MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may be inoculated with Russia-made vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in May 2021, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could get Sputnik V vaccine shots as early as May 1 provided that the vaccine is already approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The May 1 is when the PSG [Presidential Security Group] may allow him ‘pag natapos na po lahat ng test na kinakailangang gawin dito sa Gamaleya vaccine,” he said.
Duterte earlier said he is willing to participate in the clinical trials for Sputnik V.
Base on the timeline presented by Roque, the vaccine expert panel will review the results of phases 1 and 2 of the Sputnik V’s clinical trials this September.
The Philippines and Russia will conduct simultaneous phase 3 clinical trials which will run until March 2021. The Russian government is expected to shoulder the costs.
The vaccine will then have to go through the registration process with the FDA in April 2021.
Roque, however, stressed that the vaccine could become available in the market earlier since other organizations are also in advanced stages of conducting clinical trials.
“Baka mayroon pang ibang mauna dahil marami namang pong nasa third phase ng clinical trials at matagal na po silang nasa 3rd phase,” he said.
Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research, said that if no problems will be encountered on the efficacy of Russia-made vaccine during the trials, the Sputnik V vaccine could be rolled out for commercial use in the Philippines by April 2021.
Montoya is part of the team of Philippine health and vaccine experts who met with the manufacturer and scientists who developed the Sputnik V.
Russia on Tuesday announced it is the first country to grant regulatory approval to a vaccine after less than two months of human testing.
The announcement raised concerns from some international scientists about the safety of the vaccine.
The World Health Organization said Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should first undergo the necessary evaluation process before it could become available for public use. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.
Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.
Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.
Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.
Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)
Russian authorities said they would look into the safety of artificial lung ventilators being used at two hospitals after a fire broke out in St Petersburg at one of them on Tuesday (May 12) morning and killed five people.
The blaze erupted after a ventilator in an intensive care ward treating 20 patients with the novel coronavirus burst into flames, one source told the TASS news agency.
It was the second fire to break out at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in less than a week. A similar fire erupted at a Moscow hospital on Saturday killing one person.
A TASS law enforcement source said that a ventilator had caused that fire too. The source said the ventilators that caused both fires had been produced in the same factory in the Urals region.
Roszdravnadzor, Russia’s federal service for supervising healthcare, said it would check the quality and safety of the ventilators in the two hospitals, the RIA news agency reported.
Investigators opened a criminal case into Tuesday’s fire.
Russia is relatively well stocked with ventilators and has increased domestic production since the coronavirus outbreak. But data, experts, and some medics say many machines outside big cities are old.
In this case however, the ventilator reported to have started the St. Petersburg fire was new, TASS reported, having only been installed this month.
A third fire broke out on Monday at a private hospice in the Moscow region which killed nine elderly people outright.
The hospice’s owner was detained by police. A further two people later died in hospital, the RIA news agency reported.
Russia has reported 232,243 cases of the novel coronavirus, the second highest number of cases in the world as of Tuesday morning according to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and 2,116 deaths. (Reuters)
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