Duterte gets Sinopharm jab against COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   May 4, 2021   •   90

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night got inoculated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using China-made Sinopharm vaccine.

A Facebook live posted by Senator Bong Go showed the President receiving the shot administered by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The President said he chose Sinopharm as recommended by his private doctor.

“I feel good. I have been expecting a shot, this vaccination a long time ago… It took my doctor, a private doctor, a long time to make the assessment and she has chosen Sinopharm. So Sinopharm itong itinuturok sa akin,” Duterte said before receiving the COVID-19 jab.

Sinopharm filed its application for an emergency use authorization (EUA) before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March.

The FDA has yet to grant the vaccine manufacturer an EUA pending review of the application.

The agency, however, has given Sinopharm vaccine approval for compassionate use earlier this year. —/mbmf

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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

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)

DOH studying possibility of mixing vaccine brands – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is currently looking into the possibility of mixing different brands of vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday.

FDA director general Eric Domingo said the DOH is already drafting a set of guidelines that will allow a person to receive different brands of COVID-19 vaccines for first and second dose in case of severe allergic reaction and other adverse effects.

Aaralin po ngayon yan ng Department of Health, in fact, meron naman po talagang ongoing meetings ang Department of Health on that dahil meron po talagang instances na for example naturukan ka ng bakuna ng first dose tapos nagka-severe allergy ka so hindi ka na puwede sa second dose nun at kailangang isipin ngayon yung magiging alternative,” Domingo said during the Laging Handa briefing.

“Gumagawa na ng guidelines ngayon ang DOH kung paano ‘yung interchangeability or mixing ng vaccines in case the second dose cannot be given na identical doon sa first dose,” he added.

Domingo said this after President Rodrigo Duterte said he has requested China to recall the 1,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines it donated following criticisms over his decision to receive a jab that has yet to secure an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Duterte received his first dose of Sinopharm vaccine on Monday night.

Malacañang earlier said that the vaccine dose used on the president was covered by the compassionate special permit issued by the FDA for the Presidential Security Group.

Duterte defends decision to take Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine jab

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

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.

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