The bulk of the COVID-19 vaccines procured by the government will arrive in the country by the third quarter of 2021, National Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday evening.
He said the government is getting around 60 million doses from Sinovac, Pfizer, Astrazeneca, J&J, Gamaleya, and Novavax.
Galvez, the country’s vaccine czar, said Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac will be the first to deliver supplies by March next year.
“There will be a mini roll-out by the first quarter,” he said. “But the bulk of the vaccines will arrive by the end of the second quarter or the start of the third quarter.”
This developed as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea appealed to critics of the government’s moves to buy the vaccines to “just wait” and rely on Galvez, a former military general, to deliver the cure to the coronavirus.
“Gusto ko lang umapela sa mga bumabatikos sa pag-aaral natin sa pagbili ng vaccine. Maghintay naman po sana sila. Atin na po nating nasubukan si Sec. Galvez,” Medialdea said.
He said the country is “on top” with one of the best systems in the world to fight the pandemic, and that the country would soon see victory over COVID-19 with the vaccine roll-out
A COVID-19 vaccine must have 60 percent to 70 percent effective to secure approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency’s director general, Eric Domingo, said earlier Wednesday.
“Most vaccines pass if they have a 60 percent to 70 percent efficacy rate. But of course, the higher [the efficacy rate], the better,” Domingo said in an interview on the ANC news channel.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the public should trust the screening process of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) when asked about his thoughts on Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have a process, and it should be followed. We should also respect DOST and its vaccine panel because they screen all the scientific evidence to prove that these vaccines are safe, of quality and it could be implemented,” Duque said.
He said that after DOST’s evaluation, the vaccine would need approval from the Single Joint Research Ethics Board and the FDA.
“FDA will head the regulatory and technical evaluation. The vaccine would also undergo the screening of HTAC,” Duque said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire echoed Duque, saying that no Filipino will be inoculated by an unsafe coronavirus vaccine.
“It has to go through the regulatory process… And only those who would pass the regulatory process would be made available and given to the recipients of the population,” said Vergeire.
President Rodrigo Duterte has already issued an executive order allowing FDA to issue emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines that it finds safe and effective.
Only COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford have been proven at least 80 percent effective after human trials.
Only the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech has secured EUA from regulatory bodies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
“It takes time because others don’t have the EUA yet, so the production is not yet enough to be able to supply it here immediately,” Domingo said in Filipino.
Galvez earlier said that COVID-19 vaccines from Western companies like American firm Pfizer are only expected in the third quarter of 2021 because most of the supply has been cornered by richer countries, some of which will have enough vaccines to immunize their populations several times over.