The government is confident that a coronavirus vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm will soon secure approval for its emergency use in the country.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Sinopharm could send an agent to facilitate its application for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccines in the country.
President Duterte earlier apologized for using an unregistered Sinopharm jab and asked China to take back 1,000 donated doses. Duterte however insisted that his vaccination recommended by his doctor was legal since the shot was under a compassionate use permit.
The Chinese state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm has yet to get an EUA from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Chinese-made vaccine reportedly has over 79 percent efficacy rate after two doses based on studies.
“Panatag naman po ang loob natin na maaaprubahan din ang EUA ng Sinopharm dahil Sinopharm is in use po in 25 countries worldwide (We are confident that Sinopharm’s EUA will be approved because Sinopharm is in use in 25 countries worldwide),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday, May 6.
“It’s a matter of Sinopharm po appointing a representative to submit iyong mga papeles sa FDA dahil hindi naman po pupuwede na wala pong representante dito sa Pilipinas (It’s a matter of Sinopharm appointing a representative to submit the papers to FDA because it’s not possible not to have a representative in the Philippines),” he added.
For now, Roque said the President decided against the use of Sinopharm vaccines if its developer still does not have an EUA from local drug regulators. He added that the President was aware of the criticisms about his Sinopharm jab so he sought to return the doses donated by China.
Roque however raised the possibility that the President may change his mind about Sinopharm once it secures FDA approval.
“Tingnan po natin kung anong mangyari because who knows ‘no dahil since the EUA naman has been given to Sinopharm in 25 other countries, baka tama po kayo, mapabilis naman iyong proseso ng pagkuha ng EUA (Let’s see what will happen because who knows because since the EUA has been given to Sinopharm in 25 other countries, maybe you’re right, it will hasten the process of securing EUA),” he said.
“But substantially ang sabi ng Presidente, huwag na muna natin gamitin ang Sinopharm kung wala pa talagang EUA (But substantially the President said, let’s not use Sinopharm if there is really no EUA),” he added.
Despite Duterte’s request for the pullout of the Sinopharm donated doses, the Palace said one Sinopharm shot will be retained for the President’s second shot.
The 76-year-old Duterte got his fist dose of the Sinopharm vaccine against the coronavirus last Monday, May 3. The vaccine was administered by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on the President’s left arm. Sinopharm had reportedly advised 21 to 28 days between two doses.
On the 1,000 doses donated by China, Roque explained these shots were intended for the use of the Presidential Security Group hospital.
The PSG earlier secured a compassionate permit use from the FDA for the Sinopharm shots. Such permit was issued after some PSG personnel already took unregistered Sinopharm vaccines last year.