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Philippines to receive first batch of Sinovac vaccines on Sunday—Roque

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Feb 25, 2021 1:37 am

The first batch of the China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines is set to arrive in the Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 27, according to Malacañang.

In a press briefing Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the government is expecting the arrival of 600,000 doses of vaccine, donated by Beijing, in three days.

Tatlong tulog na lang po at parating na ang bakuna. Inaasahan itong darating na Linggo pong ito ang Sinovac. Kaya po excited na tayong lahat,” said Roque, who stated early this month that the first Sinovac vaccines were set to arrive on Feb. 23.

Government officials will be present during the arrival of the vaccines, according to Roque. In yesterday’s press briefing, Roque noted that President Duterte wants to personally welcome the arrival of the vaccines donated by Beijing in a ceremony. 

The spokesperson then thanked the Chinese government for donating the vaccines for the initial rollout in the country.

Marami pong salamat muli sa Sinovac at sa Tsina dahil sa parating na unang bakuna para sa mga Pilipino,” he said.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine after a “thorough and rigorous review” by regulatory and medical experts.

FDA director general Eric Domingo said in a press briefing that “the benefit of using the vaccine outweighs the known and potential risks.” 

Domingo said that the Phase 3 trial shows that when the vaccine is used on clinically healthy people, aged 18 to 59, the Sinovac vaccine’s efficacy rate is from 65.3 to 91.2 percent after the first dose.

However, Domingo noted that it has 50.4 percent efficacy rate when used on healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19. “Therefore, it is not recommended for use in this group.”

Sinovac may have a higher efficacy rate on clinically healthy individuals between the said age groups, but Domingo noted that it has a 50.4 percent efficacy rate when used on healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19. “Therefore, it is not recommended for use in this group.”

The government may revise the priority list, according to Roque, after the FDA did not recommend the Sinovac vaccine to healthcare workers, even though it has already been granted EUA. Roque said the military maybe first, followed by frontline and healthcare workers.

Roque, who said that Sinovac is “not a low-quality vaccine,” added that the “economic frontliners” might also be the first ones on the list to get the jab. “Ito po ay mga manggagaling sa mga industriya na hindi natin pinasara. You’re talking of farmers, miners, fishermen, transport workers, BPOs.”

Of the initial batch, 100,00 will be donated by Beijing to the Philippine military according to Roque.