The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally approved Sinopharm’s Covid19 vaccine for general use in the Philippines.
Sinopharm is the latest vaccine granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the government aside from Pfizer, Sinovac, Moderna, Sputnik V, Covaxin and AstraZeneca.
(Curiously enough, President Duterte was given his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine in May 2021 from a small batch donated by Beijing.)
In doing so, health officials said they are praying that the addition of Sinopharm to the growing list of FDA-cleared vaccines will help speed up the nation’s lethargic vaccination campaign.
At its current rate, ABS-CBN’s data analysis group estimated it would take until September 2024 before 70 million Filipinos can be properly vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and bring life back to normalcy.
Sinopharm was earlier granted emergency use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO) attesting to its efficacy and safety.
Last year, the Presidential Security Group (PSG), the elite bodyguards of President Duterte, was soundly criticized by various sectors for injecting themselves with Sinopharm vaccines even if it wasn’t authorized by health officials.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the vaccines used by the PSG can be considered “smuggled” as there wasn’t any clearance from the FDA and approval from his office in Camp Aguinaldo.
“They (the PSG) need to explain because they violated FDA rules,” Lorenzana was quoted in reports as saying.
The Department of Health (DOH) and FDA had warned against the use of unauthorized vaccines because this is illegal.
To date, DOH and FDA officials have not completed a report into the incident.