Poe to gov’t: Prioritize vaccine deal with Pfizer
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Thursday called on the government to prioritize the negotiation with Pfizer for the procurement of its COVID-19 vaccine after the drug firm secured an emergency use authorization (EUA) from local regulators.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) green light to use the Pfizer vaccine in the country against the novel coronavirus should prompt the government to immediately negotiate for its purchase and delivery to the Philippines,” Poe said in a statement.
“Negotiations with Pfizer should be prioritized over deals with other manufacturers whose products have yet to get FDA’s approval,” she added.
Poe, during Monday’s Senate hearing into the nationwide COVID-19 inoculation plan, earlier urged the Department of Health and the FDA to expedite the processing of EUA applications for COVID-19 vaccines.
This, to dispel suspicions that officials are just waiting for grease money to expedite approvals, she said.
During the same hearing, Poe’s colleagues had also questioned why the government secured a vaccine deal with China’s Sinovac when it has yet to apply for an emergency EUA with the FDA.
The Philippines has already secured 25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Sinovac, 50,000 of which will arrive in the country also by February. On Thursday, the FDA announced that Sinovac has applied for a EUA.
While the Philippines has yet to announce its own deal with Pfizer, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is eyeing to roll out Pfizer’s vaccines via the COVAX facility.
The COVAX facility is a platform that aims to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for people in all countries.
Senator Risa Hontiveros issued a similar call to the government following Pfizer’s EUA approval from the FDA.
“Ngayong may EUA na ang Pfizer, trabaho ng ating gubyerno na pursigihin at siguraduhing makakuha ng supply at magkaroon ng angkop na pasilidad para sa naturang bakuna,” Hontiveros said in a message to INQUIRER.net
(Now that Pfizer has secured a EUA, it is now the job of the government to make sure that we get an adequate supply of vaccines from them and the proper facility to store them.)
Grant more EUAs
Senators Francis Pangilinan, Panfilo Lacson, and Sonny Angara also welcomed the FDA’s EUA approval for Pfizer’s vaccine.
They also urged the FDA to grant EUA to other vaccines with similar efficacy as Pfizer’s.
“It’s a welcome development. We hope other vaccines with similar efficacy levels can be approved as well in the coming days,” he told INQUIRER.net in a Viber message.
“Kudos! FDA should grant more EUA’s to other qualified vaccines, especially those that are already available and which agreements have been concluded between the manufacturers and our country, not to mention those with less storage issues,” Lacson said in a separate message.
Angara, for his part, said: “It’s good and we hope they can also move quickly on other vaccines without sacrificing public safety and health.”
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