COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac will arrive in the Philippines on Feb. 23, Malacañang said Thursday as the government targets to start its mass immunization program this February.
Some 600,000 doses will be made available to the Philippines, of which 100,000 doses are donated by the Chinese government, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
“Ang bakuna po na Sinovac, galing naman po sa China, nakaukit na po sa bato ang pagdating. Ito po ay abente-tres ng Pebrero, 23 February darating po ang Sinovac, 600,000 pero ang 100,000 po ay donasyon ng Tsina para po sa kasundaluhan sa Department of National Defense,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
The Food and Drug Administration has yet to authorize Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the country. So far, only Pfizer and AstraZeneca's vaccines have received emergency use authorization.
The Philippines was initially expecting to start its mass immunization program by Feb. 15 with Pfizer vaccines courtesy of COVAX, a global alliance that ensures equitable access to the sought-after drugs.
But Malacañang on Thursday said the delivery of the vaccines might be delayed due to some problems with documents.
PSG gets green light for Sinopharm vaccines
The Presidential Security Group was given the green light to get jabs from China's Sinopharm following uproar over the illegal immunization of some of its members.
The FDA, according to Roque, issued a "compassionate use license" for the president's close-in security detail to take 10,000 Sinopharm jabs.
"All that I know is that PSG applied and was granted compassionate use for 10,000 dosage," Roque said.
"Kaya nga po compassionate use dahil kinakailangan mabakunahan na iyong ibang miyembro pa ng PSG dahil nga po sa kanilang trabaho na nagbibigay seguridad sa ating Presidente," he added.