The more the merrier: PH allows emergency use of Johnson & Johnson COVID jab, says Galvez

Published April 20, 2021, 1:36 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

The country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally approved the emergency use of American drugmaker Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. bared Monday night, April 19.

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson

Galvez, vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, confirmed that the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization or EUA to J&J, the fifth drug manufacturer to have such distinction.

“Ang J&J, nagpapasalamat po tayo sa FDA kasi lumabas na po ang kanyang EUA [emergency use authorization] so may lima na tayong vaccine na meron na pong EUA (As for J&J, we thank the FDA because it already issued an EUA to them so we now have five vaccine [brands] with an EUA),” said Galvez during President Duterte’s televised Cabinet meeting.

Galvez and FDA Director General Eric Domingo, who also attended the meeting, did not elaborate on the details of the issuance of EUA to J&J.

The EUA was issued several days after the United States suspended the use of the J&J jabs due to rare cases of blood clots developed by some of the vaccinees.

Last week, the US FDA and Center for Disease Control (CDC) said they have recommended the suspension of the distribution of J&J vaccines after they discovered that six patients developed blood clots after getting the said jab.

The six cases were a standout from the total seven million people who were inoculated with the single-dose vaccine, they added.

The Philippine government is eyeing to secure six to 10 million vaccine doses from J&J, according to Galvez.

He said the supply agreement may be signed this week, with the delivery expected to begin in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

Galvez said there are only two vaccine brands from the seven that were reviewed by the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) that have yet to secure an EUA in the country. These are Moderna from the United States and Novavax, which was developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

The FDA previously issued EUAs to Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac Biotech (CoronaVac), and Gamaleya Research Institute (Sputnik V).