A medic shows a vial of AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD coronavirus disease vaccine in Yangon, Myanmar. Reuters
The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use of AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine, the second to be approved in the Southeast Asian nation.
The known and potential benefits of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine outweighed the risks to date, FDA chief Rolando Enrique Domingo told a news conference.
The Philippines’ FDA has previously approved Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines from Russia’s Gamaleya, China’s Sinovac Biotech and India’s Bharat Biotech are awaiting approval.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine was easy to transport and store and did not require ultra-cold temperatures, Domingo said. “It also has very good protection against severe COVID-19,” he said.
The Philippines has signed deals to buy 17 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, including a private sector agreement for 2.6 million doses in November.
The initial shipment scheduled in May would not be affected by some manufacturing problems facing AstraZeneca, said Jose Concepcion, a government business adviser representing the private sector.
With more than 518,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 10,500 deaths, the Philippines has the second-highest case load in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.
European Medicines Agency director Emer Cooke said the watchdog could not definitively rule out a link between blood clot incidents and the vaccine in its investigation into 30 cases of a rare blood clotting condition.
Several European countries resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations as Germany and Italy announced they were using the jab again as of Friday.
The minister confirmed the efficacy of the vaccine, using data from Britain to back his claim.
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