China ready to ship Sinovac vaccine donations anytime, Galvez says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 2) — China's offer to donate 500,000 vaccine doses to the Philippines remains on the table, according to vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

He said on Tuesday half a million free doses of CoronaVac manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac can be shipped as soon as it receives emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration.

"Sinovac ang donation nila na 500,000. Once na nagkaroon na ng EUA at naapruban na ng FDA ang kanilang emergency use, pwede nang ma-transport dito anytime," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: They will donate 500,000 doses of Sinovac. Once it receives EUA from the FDA, it can be transported anytime.]

China in January promised to donate 500,000 doses to the country as part of the earlier commitment made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said the Philippines will be prioritized once a vaccine developed by Beijing becomes available. FDA previously said this goodwill will not affect their EUA application review.

Aside from the donation, the first batch of 50,000 Sinovac doses is set to arrive in the country on the last week of February or first week of March.

Sinovac vaccine is being rolled out in some countries including Indonesia and Turkey. Late-stage trials in Brazil showed that the efficacy rate of Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot was 50.38%, lower than that of the other frontrunners. Vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, for example, have an efficacy rate of about 95%.

Meanwhile, Galvez said the Philippines is in advanced negotiations with five vaccine manufacturers, adding the deals may be sealed by the end of February. The supply agreement will contain details when the Philippines should pay for the drugs and when it is slated to arrive in the country.

The official refused to name the five companies due to non-disclosure agreements, but he hinted that they are sought-after brands.

"I can assure you ang mga vaccine pong iyon is one of the most sought vaccine at maganda ang naging result ng mga vaccine na iyon. Isa ito sa top 3 vaccines sa market ngayon," he said.

[Translation: The vaccines are sought after and it showed good results. It's included in the top 3 vaccines in the market.]