The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the country’s chief regulating agency, admitted it has “zero knowledge” about the China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine – aside from the fact that it is already here in the Philippines as evidenced by President Duterte’s being inoculated with it last week in a much-publicized event in Malacanang.
FDA director Dr. Eric Domingo (son of PAGCOR chairman Andrea “Didi” Domingo) said he was totally in the dark as to how this current batch of Sinopharm vaccines entered the Philippines.
“As of early March, we asked them (referring to the Department of Health and the Presidential Security Group) and they told us that the vaccines have not arrived. I don’t have the full information when and how many doses arrived,” he was quoted in reports as saying.
Domingo said that the Sinopharm vaccine hasn’t yet been evaluated by the FDA’s expert panel as to its efficacy, safety and quality as the manufacturer has not applied for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
He claimed the vaccine used was covered only by a compassionate special permit (CSP) given to the PSG Hospital last February 2021.
Domingo claimed the President’s vaccination “came as a surprise” since PSG officials had never submitted any report, as required, since being issued a CSP in February.
The FDA had also asked the Bureau of Customs to trace how the Sinopharm vaccines arrived in the country, but so far there has been no reply from them.
In September 2020, the PSG was criticized after it emerged (from the lips of President Duterte himself) that they had vaccinated themselves with the Sinopharm vaccine.
Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana said that the vaccine given to the PSG men were deemed smuggled because these weren’t cleared by any governmental health regulatory office.