With no application yet, Sinovac to get emergency use approval in PH, vaccine czar says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13) — Even with its Food and Drug Administration application nowhere in sight, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. is expecting that China's Sinovac will be approved for use in the Philippines by next month.

"Nakita namin ang EUA maa-approve po before February 20, iyon ang arrangement namin. Maganda ang pagpaplano namin kasi alam na namin ilan ang darating kada buwan," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: We expect the EUA to be approved before February 20, that's our arrangement. It's easy to plan because we know the amount that's arriving.]

Galvez added that Sinovac is consolidating its trial data from Brazil and Turkey before applying. He said it is also waiting for China to allow the drug's general use and exportation.

The Philippines has secured 25 million doses of Sinovac, with 50,000 doses set to arrive in the country on February 20.

The Chinese company has not yet submitted its application for emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration. This step is required for the vaccines to be approved for legal distribution in the country. It normally takes the FDA 21 days to review an application.

The Duterte administration is being criticized by lawmakers for its seeming preference for Sinovac despite its cost and low efficacy rate in clinical trials. Senator Panfilo Lacson even questioned why Galvez said in a Senate hearing that they will "advise" the company to apply for EUA in the Philippines.

"Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.'s reply that they will advise Sinovac to apply for an EUA — after concluding a contract with it — only made it obvious that Sinovac is really the 'chosen one'," Lacson said in a statement.