Duterte defends decision to take Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine jab

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021   •   207

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.

No favoritism in deployment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday denied claims it is favoring certain areas when it comes to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by American drug firm Pfizer-BioNTech.

The DOH issued the statement following reports that Davao City has received a substantial number of Pfizer jabs.

Davao City is President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed that the national government is not giving any preferential treatment and that available vaccine doses in the country are allocated based on need and the prioritization framework.

“Wala pong paborito, base lang po sa pangangailangan, base lang po sa prioritization framework,” Vergeire said during a press briefing.

Reports claimed that Davao City got a huge number of Pfizer vaccine doses while other regions in Mindanao received fewer jabs.

But Dr. Adbullah Dumama Jr., DOH Undersecretary for the Visayas and Mindanao Field Implementation and Coordination team, said the 210,000 doses for Davao is for the whole region and not only for the City.

The same amount of Pfizer jabs were also allotted for Cebu Province, he added.

“Wala pong pagkakaiba yung doses na naibigay sa Cebu at sa Davao… Wala hong favoritism dito,” he said in the same briefing.

 “Hindi po ito pang Davao City lang. Sa Davao region po ito at yung mga karatig pook na merong mga pangangailangan sa Pfizer,” he added.

Dumama also said that Davao and Cebu areas were given Pfizer shots because they have ultra-low freezers that are capable of storing the vaccine.

“Nabigyan lang ito ng ganun kalaki [na allocation], kung sa palagay ninyo ay malaki, ay dahil sa tayo ay mayroong capability, meron po tayong ultra-low temperature freezers dito. Doon ho sa ibang lugar, wala pa pero dahil sa dito lang ito, maaari kaming magbigay as ibang lugar na nangnangailangan,” he said.

According to Vergeire, there are only five areas in the country that have yet to receive Pfizer vaccines due to lack of appropriate vaccine storage capability. There are the Bangsamoro region, Caraga, Regions 12, 5 and Mimaropa.

The Bangsamoro government earlier said it will pass a resolution that would authorize the procurement of ultra-low freezers and increase its vaccination centers in the region.

The national government has announced it has inked a deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for the purchase of 40 million doses, which may be delivered starting August this year.

The DOH said it is now preparing to capacitate all regions in the country to handle the storage of Pfizer vaccines.

 

PH, Pfizer ink deal for 40M doses of COVID vax, delivery starts in August

Marje Pelayo   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government and American multinational pharmaceutical company Pfizer signed a supply agreement for 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said big nations are no longer strict when it comes to vaccine supply after vaccinating most of their population.

This leads to manufacturers opening delivery arrangements with other countries.

“The vaccine demand has begun to ease up for many big and rich countries, as most of them have already acquired more than enough vaccines for their population and have vaccinated many of their citizens. This has allowed the manufacturer to commit to us that deliveries, though still to be made in tranches, will be in bulk,” Galvez said.

The initial delivery for this particular deal will happen in August.

The payment for the supply will be made through a multilateral arrangement with the Asian Development Bank.

This is the biggest vaccine procurement for this year.

To date, the Philippines has secured a total of 157 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and these include those donated through the COVAX facility.

The first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine will coincide with the kick off of the national immunization program for the general public including children aged 12 to 15 years old. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH to receive P505M worth of COVID-19 vaccine donation from Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Australian government is donating 13.72 million AUD or P505 million worth of coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines.

The vaccines will be purchased in coordination with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven Robinson on Thursday (June 17).

“This will make an important contribution to meeting the country’s vaccine needs in 2021. The Philippines will receive additional procurement and end-to-end distribution support to meet its needs under Australia’s new agreement with UNICEF to purchase safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the Philippines,” he said.

The vaccines are expected to be delivered within the year.

Aside from the anticipated donations, Robinson said Canberra has also provided Manila at least 7.52 million Australian dollars or around P277 million to boost its vaccine rollout through Australia’s Vaccine Response Plan.

Australia is the Philippines’ fourth donor country following other sponsors such as China, the United States, and Japan.

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