Research & Development
Philippines FDA approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
14 January 2021 -

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines has authorised for emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the first to be approved in the country, Reuters news agency reported on Thursday.

The head of FDA Philippines, Rolando Enrique Domingo, said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has shown a 95% success rate, could be effective in preventing COVID-19, which has infected nearly half a million people in the Philippines.

Domingo was quoted as telling a briefing: "The benefit of using vaccine outweighs the known and potential risks," adding, "no specific safety concerns were identified."

The Philippines is due to receive the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccines in the first quarter through the COVAX facility, on top of a deal it is negotiating directly with the vaccine maker.

Domingo also said China's Sinovac Biotech has submitted its emergency use authorisation application for its CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine on 13 January 2021.

Reportedly, the Philippines has secured 25 million doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac, with the first 50,000 to arrive in February 2021.

Following the release of late-stage trial data in Brazil that showed efficacy of CoronaVac at just 50.4%, the President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, defended the government's purchase of CoronaVac, saying on 13 January 2021 night that it was as good as the shots developed by Americans and Europeans.

According to Carlito Galvez, who handles the vaccine procurement for the Philippines government, the country has now firm supply deals with Novavax, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Russia's Gamaleya Institute.

AstraZeneca and Gamaleya have pending emergency use applications with the FDA, Reuters added.

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