The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization for Sinovac’s COVID jabs, but these won’t be administered to health care workers the top priority in the vaccination program because its efficacy rate stood at only 50.4 percent among members of this sector. (STAR/File)
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte won’t be among the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because the China-made shots that are expected to arrive in the Philippines first are not recommended for senior citizens, Malacañang said yesterday.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization for Sinovac’s COVID jabs, but these won’t be administered to health care workers – the top priority in the vaccination program – because its efficacy rate stood at only 50.4 percent among members of this sector.
Aside from this, the FDA added, the shots should be given to clinically healthy persons aged 18 to 59.
Because of the FDA’s decision on Sinovac, members of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group would have to meet and discuss the vaccine program priorities that may have to be modified, he added, noting that 100,000 of the 600,000 initial doses of the vaccines donated by China have been allocated for soldiers.
“Our first priority were the health workers and then seniors but they cannot receive the vaccine so the economic frontliners and our soldiers may become the priorities. They are the people working in industries that remained open while we were under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” the Palace spokesman said in Filipino.
“Our vaccination will continue, it won’t be disrupted.
If we cannot give them to seniors and health care workers, we have many critical economic frontliners who can be vaccinated,” he added.
Roque said the poor could also be inoculated if the supply agreement involving the procurement of one million Sinovac doses pushes through.
“We did not choose this but look, we really have a God who says that the poor in the Philippines should be prioritized in the vaccines,” he added.
He revealed that the 75-year-old Duterte has expressed preference for COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Sinopharm, also a Chinese firm.
Earlier this month, the FDA allowed the compassionate use of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines for members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and their families.
PSG chief Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III had admitted that some of Duterte’s security aides had been inoculated against COVID-19 as early as September last year. The vaccination took place even before the FDA approved any COVID-19 shot for local use.
Durante, however, claimed that the vaccination was done “in good faith” and that the security aides could not wait for the jabs to be available because they have a mission to protect the President. – Alexis Romero
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