Russia on Thursday, February 18, assured Philippines priority in the delivery of vaccines for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) even as it vouched for Sputnik V’s efficacy and safety, especially for senior citizens.
During a briefing conducted by the Committee on People’s Participation chaired by San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes, Russian embassy officials, together with Olivia Limpe-Aw, the local distribution partner Sputnik V manufacturers, also guaranteed cooperation in the submission of Philippine government requirements for the procurement of the vaccine.
Russian Embassy Minister Counselor Valdlen V. Epifanov and First Secretary (Trade) Vladislav S. Mongush were quick to assure lawmakers that state-run Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology will be able to meet the Philippines requirement for Sputnik V.
“The results of the clinical trial phase 3 conducted last year showed its very high safety and efficacy rate which has been recognized by the very respectable British Lancet medical journal. As far as its efficacy, it goes up to 91.6 percent and volunteers of 60 (years of age) and up is a little bit higher (at) 91.8 percent. 98 percent of those vaccinated developed good immune response,” said Epifanov.
On the other hand, Mongush noted that Russia was the “first country” to propose its vaccine to “our priority partner which is the PH,.”
“Our aim is to provide our vaccine to all our partners. We will do our best to reach our aim,” said Mongush.
He also assured Director General Eric Domingo of the Food and Drugs Authority that visas will be immediately issued to the Philippine team of experts who will conduct an inspection of the Gamaleya facilities and vaccine manufacturing plant in Moscow.
Domingo noted that several requirements have not yet been satisfied by Gamaleya, thus, slowing down approval of approval of its application for emergency use authorization.
Like Sinovac of China, Sputnik is still being evaluated by the FDA, said Domingo. He added that Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca have completed the requirements that prompted FDA to issue the EUAs.
While Domingo is convinced that Sputnik V indeed has a high efficacy and safety standard, there will be no shortcuts in the grant of EUA’s for local use.
“Authorization is given if everything is there. Let me assure you that we will not delay unnecessarily, we want the vaccines available as quickly and rapidly as we want to immediately protect our countrymen from COVID-19,’ stressed Domingo.
Robes lauded the Russian diplomats for assuring lawmakers about Moscow’s much-vaunted COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are favored with the readiness of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), and the Russian government in general, to start the Russian coronavirus vaccine supplies to the Philippines immediately after the national regulator gives its approval for emergency use,” the committee chairperson stated.
She added: “Undeniably, the success of the COVID-19 vaccination program in the Philippines is also hinged on the stockpile of countries and companies at the forefront of developing the vaccines.”