Duterte prohibits Customs, airport personnel from opening, delaying COVID-19 vaccine supplies

Marje Pelayo   •   February 9, 2021   •   210

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminded Customs and airport personnel not to open or tamper with the shipment of COVID-19 vaccine supplies.

Likewise, the President stressed that concerned government agencies must not cause any delay in the transportation and distribution of the vaccines.

This was his call during a public address aired Monday night (February 8).

“Let me address every government worker. Lahat tayo. Do not delay and do not hinder or obstruct the smooth flow na nakikita ninyo from the time of the arrival to the time of clearance,” Duterte said.

Maybe ang trabaho lang ninyo Customs, magtingin. You have no business na buksan-buksan dyan. You’re not allowed to do that. I am not allowing you, anybody diyan sa airport na magbukas bukas,” he added.

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive next week.

Meanwhile, the President has authorized the Philippine National Police (PNP) to deploy its men to ensure the safe and fast transport of vaccine supplies across the country. 

“The PNP should provide escorts that would ensure the fastest way of, for the vaccines to arrive in their storage and even in the matter of transporting from one facility to the other. Ihatid doon sa mga local governments. The police will provide that kind of mobility,” he said.

Duterte reminded other government agencies not to interfere with the affairs of the National Task Force and stressed that only Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III are the only persons to “call the shots” in the vaccine rollout to ensure the smooth distribution of the vaccines to the people.

Duterte to wait for FDA approval before using Sinopharm vax – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for China-state-owned Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before receiving a dose, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the FDA confirmed that it has received Sinopharm’s application for an EUA that was filed on Monday afternoon.

“Mag-aantay po si president ng EUA dahil nabalita ko nga kahapon, mayroon na pong nag-apply ng EUA for the Sinopharm,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Securing an EUA from the FDA is part of the process for a vaccine to be legally used in the country.

The FDA earlier approved a compassionate use license for 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines for the members of the Presidential Security Group.

The agency, however, clarified that the issuance of such a permit is not tantamount to a stamp of approval.

Duterte earlier expressed a preference for Sinopharm developed COVID-19 vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Cebu City to start vaccination on March 4 after receiving Sinovac jabs

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

Cebu City is eyeing to begin its COVID-19 immunization program on Thursday, March 4, after receiving thousands of doses of CoronaVac vaccines developed by Chinese firm Sinovac.

Some 7,200 doses of Sinovac jabs donated by the Chinese government arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport at around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

The vaccines were then delivered to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City for storage.

More than 2,000 medical frontliners at the VSMMC initially registered for vaccination, but according to hospital chief, Dr. Gerard Aquino Jr., many of the vaccine recipients backed out after learning about the brand of the vaccine delivered.

“Initially we submitted the first, there are about 2,900 but lately kay siyempre, when we were informed nga lain ang brand so we have also to inform them,” Aquino said.

“So I think as of yesterday, we have 600 but it keeps on increasing kasi as of yesterday nakita naman nila (ang pagbakuna sa) mga health worker sa Manila,” he added.

Aquino also noted the importance of conducting information drive to increase public confidence and to prevent any misinformation about the vaccines.

“Plus, dapat we did some information campaign talaga kasi sad to say, meron talagang mga misinformation,” he said.

Aquino said he will be the first to receive the Sinovac jab to lead by example and dispel doubts on COVID-19 vaccination.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sinovac but did not recommend its use for health workers caring for COVID-19 patients due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4% based on clinical trials conducted in Brazil.

The Department of Health (DOH) previously stressed that the FDA’s recommendation on Sinovac was not a contraindication and that this does not prohibit healthcare workers from getting the Sinovac jab.

The DOH urged frontliners to take the available vaccine to give them protection against the virus.

The agency, however, stressed that medical frontliners will not be forced to take the shot and that they will not lose their priority status if they choose to decline the Sinovac vaccine shot.

The Philippine government on Monday formally rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program to several hospitals in Metro Manila after receiving the donated vaccine doses from China on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Ryan Mallari)

Davao City receives Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of doses of CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Davao City on Tuesday as the government continues its vaccination campaign against the viral respiratory disease.

Some 12,000 doses of CoronaVac developed by Chinese firm Sinovac aboard an airplane arrived at the Davao International Airport around 6:45 a.m.

The COVID-19 vaccines were brought to the Department of Health Regional Office for storage.

Some 12,000 doses of SINOVAC vaccines for Covid-19 arrived at the Davao International Airport, Tuesday morning.These…

Posted by City Government of Davao on Monday, March 1, 2021

The city government said the first batch of vaccines will be used to vaccinate over 8,000 frontline workers, primarily those in the healthcare sector in Davao City and Tagum City.

The immunization will start on Friday at the Southern Philippines Medical Center where 3,000 healthcare workers will be first inoculated.

Of these number, around 150 frontliners are expected to receive the vaccine on the first day of the vaccination.

SPMC officer-in-charge Dr. Ricardo Audan, Davao City COVID-19 focal person Dr. Ashley Lopez, and DOH regional director Annabelle Yumang will be among those to be vaccinated in the city. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)

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