Philippines gives approval to Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use
MANILA (PHILIPPINES) – The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration has given approval for emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. This is the first to be approved in the country, with the most coronavirus cases in Asia.
FDA head Rolando Enrique Domingo said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has shown a 95% success rate, could be effective in keeping COVID-19 at bay, which has infected nearly half a million people in the Philippines.
“The benefit of using vaccine outweighs the known and potential risks,” he told a briefing, adding “no specific safety concerns were identified.”
It is likely to receive the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines in the first quarter with the help of COVAX facility, in addition to a deal it is negotiating directly with the vaccine maker.
Domingo also said China’s Sinovac Biotech on Wednesday that its emergency use authorisation application has been submitted.
The Philippines has secured 25 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac, with the first 50,000 to arrive in February.
President Rodrigo Duterte defended the government’s purchase of CoronaVac, saying on Wednesday night that it was equally good as the shots developed by Americans and Europeans.
The Philippines hopes this year to inoculate 70 million people, or two-thirds of its population.
Carlito Galvez, who handles the vaccine procurement for the government, said it has now secured supply deals with Novavax, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.
AstraZeneca and Gamaleya have pending emergency use applications with the FDA.