THE Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to two more COVID-19 vaccines.
FDA director general Eric Domingo on Tuesday, April 20, confirmed that Johnson & Johnson and India’s Bharat Biotech have secured a EUA for their vaccines.
“Our experts have evaluated their applications and decided that the benefits outweigh the risk,” he announced at a public hearing.
However, Bharat has yet to submit Certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice before it can start importing its COVID-19 jabs.
“They have already been inspected but their certification has not yet been released,” said Domingo.
Bharat’s Covaxin is administered in two doses, 14 days apart. Studies showed that it has an efficacy rate of 80.6 percent.
For his part, India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran welcomed the EUA approval.
“Delighted that #Covaxin has been granted EUA in the #Philippines. Congratulations @BharatBiotech! Thank you @FDAPhilippines,” he said in a tweet. “Another decisive step in the long battle together against COVID-19!”
As for J&J’s Janssen, the FDA approved its EUA application despite the blood clotting incidents among some vaccine recipients.
“Overall, the benefits of using this vaccine outweigh the risk of clotting, which is one in every one million,” said Domingo.
Janssen is a single-dose vaccine with an efficacy rate of 66 percent.
Aside from Bharat and J&J, the Philippines has granted EUA to vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Gamaleya.
More vaccines to arrive in PH
The country is set to receive half a million doses of CoronaVac on April 22, according to Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana.
“A team from the Philippine Embassy in Beijing led by First Secretary Winston Almeda & Economic Section Attache Dada Katrina Aromin inspected the shipment of 500,000 vaccines produced by Sinovac on Monday, April 19, before they are brought to the airport for pickup by a Philippine Airlines plane,” the envoy said in a statement on Wednesday, April 21.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said U.S. vaccines could start arriving in the next two months.
“Kinonfirm sa akin ng Moderna na (Moderna confirmed to me that) they will start delivering starting June 15, that is the target date and then it will start increasing in the succeeding months,” he said in a Palace briefing.
He added that Pfizer doses will “most likely be coming in next month” through the COVAX Facility.
The country has also reserved six million doses of Janssen vaccines.
“Iyan dadating ng mga second half of this year siyempre kasi yung production diyan eh medyo ngayon pa lang maguumpisa ng full production (These will arrive in the second half of this year, of course, because they are just starting their full production now),” the envoy said.
For his part, Philippine Ambassador in Moscow Carlos Sorreta said the country is expected to receive the initial batch of 20,000 doses of vaccines made by Gamaleya Research Institute within the next few days.
“My understanding is we have complied with their requirements because they would not deliver unless they are satisfied with our logistics,” he said at a press briefing.
“That’s why the first 20,000 (doses) will be used to fine-tune logistics on our end,” he added.
Sorreta also said that about 20 million doses will be arriving in the country “before the end of the year.”
Over a million Filipinos have been immunized since the government kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination drive in March.
According to National Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., a total of 1,353,107 Filipinos have gotten their vaccine shots.
Of the figure, 132,948 are senior citizens, 180,315 are persons with comorbidities, and 989,703 are healthcare workers.