Duterte snipes at Robredo, opts for Sinopharm

President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to be vaccinated by COVID-19 vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Sinopharm as soon as the Food and Drug Administration approves the emergency use authorization to disprove Vice President Leni Robredo’s thinking that Duterte got the jab along with the members of the Presidential Security Group last year.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the remarks to defend Duterte from Robredo’s repeated call for the President to be inoculated with Sinovac.

“The President will wait for the EUA’s approval because Sinopharm has applied for an EUA before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday,” he said.

The 75-year-old Duterte earlier hit Robredo for supposedly trying to be “relevant” by pressuring him to get inoculated with the China-made Sinovac vaccines.

“You seem to have an angel face but a devilish mind. You’re suspecting that’s why you want me to go into a trap of saying things which are not appropriate,” the President said.

Sinopharm application

Chinese firm Sinopharm has filed an application for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.

“There was an online application filed yesterday (Monday) afternoon. Our officers are now checking the contents of the submission,” FDA chief Eric Domingo said.

On Monday, presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced that Sinopharm had already submitted its application but Domingo was not immediately able to confirm it.

The FDA chief earlier said that the drug regulator would need four to six weeks to evaluate the Sinopharm vaccine due to its lack of approval from any stringent regulatory authority such as the US FDA or the World Health Organization (WHO).

Health review

The coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech is already undergoing review by the Health Technology Assessment Council, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

Duque said the FDA submitted the needed documents to the HTAC last week.

The HTAC is an independent advisory body tasked to guide the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

The government plans to purchase one million Sinovac doses this month to augment the 600,000 doses donated by the Chinese government.

Doctors from the Philippine General Hospital as well as Vice President Leni Robredo earlier called for an HTAC review of the Sinovac jab to ensure “informed decision-making.”

Clinical trials

Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine will continue its clinical trial in the Philippines to check for long-term efficacy, even it has already gotten approval in the United States, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

“The clinical trial of Janssen here in the country is for 2 doses,” Health Undersecretary Maria RosarioVergeire said, referring to Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical company Janssen.

Janssen was the first to be approved for COVID-19 clinical trials in the country, and the testing started last month.

“The efficacy might be higher or it might last longer. So that’s what the manufacturers are looking at,” Vergeire added.

The Janssen vaccine uses an adenovirus to carry the COVID-19 gene into the body in order to trigger an immune response.

Robredo rants

In defending Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Francis Pangilinan stressedTuesday the problem was COVID and not the vice president.

Since the he start of the pandemic in March last year, he noted that Robredo had been exerting all efforts looking for solution to the new virus.

“Let us be like the Vice President. Let js focus on preventing COVID so we won’t be left behind in the whole of Asia,” added the Liberal party president in defending Robredo.

Earlier, Robredo called for further reviews on Chinese government-donated vaccines made by Sinovac Biotech, which arrived on Sunday and was administered earlier, as it would be used for health workers and frontliners.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Leni Robredo , Vaccine , Sinopharm , Harry Roque , Food and Drug Administration
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