PH gov’t may seal vaccine deal with AstraZeneca for 20M doses this month —Galvez
Robie de Guzman • December 22, 2020 • 435
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines may sign a deal with British-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca for 20 million doses of its novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine by the end of this month, the government’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said.
During the Cabinet’s regular briefing on Monday with President Rodrigo Duterte, Galvez reported that the deal could be signed on December 28 or 29 once the British government has issued a health regulatory authorization.
Galvez said these vaccines will go to the local government units and the private sector.
AstraZeneca pegged its price at only five dollars or around P500 for two shots of COVID-19 vaccine intended for an individual.
Galvez also announced that the government is likewise negotiating with India’s Serum Institute for the supply of the vaccine. Under a tie up with American’s Novavax Inc., the vaccines will be manufactured in India.
The vaccine developer promised to deliver 30 million doses, he added.
“So all in all po, kung magkakaroon po tayo ng pirmahan this coming month, mayroon po tayong 60 million for the second quarter at saka third quarter po,” he told the President.
The Philippine government earlier said it is looking to roll out its COVID-19 immunization program in 2021 or 2022, and to administer it to at least 70 million Filipinos within three to five years.
Frontline health workers will be the first priority in the vaccine distribution followed by senior citizens, poor Filipinos and uniformed personnel.
Areas with high cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) such as Metro Manila, Davao, and Cebu will be prioritized in the distribution of the vaccines once it becomes available.
MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will not be receiving the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
“FTD (Francisco T Duque III) will not be vaccinated with SINOVAC as EUA provisions exclude 60 and above,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.
“He also underscores that we will follow the prioritization framework, and will ensure that limited doses will go to the HCWs first,” it added.
Duque, 64, earlier said he is willing to receive Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine but the age bracket recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might become an issue.
The FDA said the Sinovac jabs are only recommended to be administered to people aged 18 to 59 years old as it showed a higher efficacy rate in the said group based on clinical trials conducted in Indonesia and Turkey.
Duque led the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers and other frontliners on Monday after the donated 600,000 Sinovac vaccines from China arrived in the country on Sunday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – Five people were reported feeling unwell after being administered with Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) on the first day of the vaccination program rollout.
In Correspondent Dante Amento’s report on UNTV’s Ito Ang Balita, five people were sent to the emergency room for monitoring and observation.
One of them was a male staff of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office who experienced a dizzy spell a few minutes after receiving the vaccine.
A female vaccinee experienced rashes, while two others reported having a high blood pressure and palpitations.
Of the cases, two have been discharged.
According to VMMC director, Dr. Dominador Chiong, the reported symptoms can be considered mild side effects if these are proven to have been caused by the COVID-19 vaccine.
They are also not discounting the possibility that the symptoms may have also been caused by other factors such as anxiety about the vaccination and fatigue, as well as the heat.
“Pwedeng mangyari po yun talaga just like in any other medication,” Chiong said.
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 Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he will not be administered with CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, as the Philippines rolls out its vaccination drive on Monday.
In a post on Twitter, Lorenzana said he volunteered to be among the first to receive the vaccine in the Department of National Defense (DND) “to lead by example to not cast doubt against Sinovac,” and to “hopefully bring confidence” among its personnel.
However, he was advised that he was not qualified to take the vaccine based on Sinovac’s age limit, which is 18 to 59.
Lorenzana is 72 years old.
The DND started Monday the inoculation of its personnel against COVID-19. Lorenzana and other officials witnessed the vaccination rollout at Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City.
The Defense chief said the DND has been allocated with 100,000 vaccine doses – 29,040 of these jabs are allotted for health workers of the VMMC and V. Luna Medical Center, military and civilian staff of the DND-Proper. The remaining doses will be given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government arrived in the country on Sunday. The vaccines were welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte and other Cabinet officials at the Villamore Airbase in Pasay City. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
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