First batch of Sinovac vaccines ready for shipping, still possible to arrive in PH within the week — exec

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 24)— The first batch of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines is being prepared for delivery to the Philippines, a top official of the Chinese company said Wednesday, adding they are doing their best to ship the doses to the country within the week.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Sinovac Biotech General Manager Helen Yang said the firm is in close coordination with the Chinese Embassy with regards to the shipment of the 600,000 vaccine doses that will be donated by China's government to the country.

“I think it’s still possible… We will do our best,” Yang told The Source when asked if the vaccines may arrive this week.

“Currently, the product is being prepared, is ready. If we finish all the procedures, I think we will be soon ready to supply the product to Philippines,” she added.

The doses from the Chinese firm were initially set to arrive on February 23, Malacañang announced earlier this month. However, at the time, Sinovac had yet to receive an emergency use authorization from the local Food and Drug Administration— which only gave the green light for the vaccine’s use on Monday.

With the EUA issuance on the table, Yang said the company will now only need to complete the delivery schedule, as well as finalize Customs procedures, which she said “will normally take a few days.”

The FDA announced this week it was granting the EUA for the Sinovac vaccine following a long review of its application, which was previously hampered by the incomplete submission of Phase 3 clinical trial data. Netizens and even lawmakers questioned the approval, given that it came with a warning from the regulatory agency that the product was not the most ideal for frontliners due to its lower efficacy rate.

Aside from the Chinese government donation, the country has likewise secured 25 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine. Senator Sonny Angara, citing information from task force officials, earlier said an initial batch of 1.5 million doses is set to be delivered "before the end of March."