DOH: No official communication from EU, Saudi on chosen COVID-19 jab brands
MANILA, Philippines — There is no official communication from Saudi Arabia and countries from the European Union on their supposed preferred brands of vaccines that should be used on inbound travelers, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said this after information circulated on social media claiming Saudi and EU member countries will not allow entry of travelers injected with China-made COVID-19 vaccines such as those developed by Sinovac Biotech (CoronaVac) and Sinopharm.
“Nakita natin ang social media cards where sinasabi na itong mga bansang ito ay mayroon lang specific na bakuna para sa mga papasok sa kanilang lugar,” she said in an online press briefing.
(We saw these social media cards claiming that these countries require a specific brand of vaccine for those who want to enter their territories.)
“We have already coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) para ma-verify nila (so they can verify) if these are really official communications because the DFA has not received any official communication from the embassies of these specific countries,” she added.
“We are trying to verify this information kung ito ay (if these are) authentic,” Vergeire said.
CoronaVac is one of seven vaccines granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines. It is also currently being used in the national government’s vaccination drive against COVID-19.
The other six COVID-19 vaccines that have EUA in the country are Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya Institute (Sputnik V), Janssen or Johnson & Johnson, Bharat Biotech (Covaxin), and Moderna.
Meanwhile, the DOH is set to file a EUA application for China-owned Sinopharm. Earlier, the World Health Organization approved Sinopharm’s vaccine for emergency listing, making it the first vaccine developed by a non-Western country to secure its approval.
An emergency listing from WHO signals the safety and efficacy of a product, for reference of local regulators. It would also pave the way for the inclusion of the vaccine in the COVAX Facility, a global initiative to provide vaccines mainly for poor and middle-income countries.
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