The Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine will mostly likely be distributed to areas equipped to handle to its storage requirements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday, April 29.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo said the vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has a storage requirement of -18 degrees and below, must be kept in storage facilities equipped to handle sub-zero temperatures.
“That really is an issue. That means this Sputnik vaccine is probably going to go to the big city centers or where they have hospitals and they have storage facilities that will be able to hold the minus 18 degrees centigrade vaccines,” Domingo said in an ANC interview.
“It’s not going to be as widely distributed as Sinovac and AstraZeneca. They will have to be more choosy where to set it,” he added.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the delivery of the initial 15,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute procured by the government from Russia was delayed “due to logistical challenges.”
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that most of the vaccine will be distributed in urbanized areas such as in Metro Manila which has a capacity to store the vaccine in ultra-cold temperatures.
While the World Health Organization has yet to conduct another round of review of the vaccine, Domingo assured that the Russian-made vaccine is safe to use, noting the benefit of using the shot outweighs the possible risks associated with it.
“If you look at our timeline, it took us the longest probably to check the Russian vaccine because we really required and asked for all of the documents regarding safety and efficacy, and of course, the quality of the product,” he said.
“But we were satisfied in the end after so many exchanges of emails and communication. They were able to submit all of the health required,” he added.
The FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in March 19.
Based on the data from the Health department, the shot uses a non-replicating viral vector, and requires two doses with three weeks apart.
The DOH data showed also that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent “against symptomatic COVID-19,” and 100 percent “against moderate or severe cases.”