The Philippines is expected to receive its initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinovac on Sunday, Feb. 28, Malacañang said Thursday as the country rushes to catch up with the mass immunization program of other nations.
President Rodrigo Duterte has put off a shift to a nationwide MGCQ, the loosest quarantine, until vaccines are rolled out.
"Inaasahan na darating sa araw ng Linggo, itong Linggo na ito ang Sinovac kaya excited na tayong lahat," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
It was just this week that the Food and Drug Administration cleared Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, making it the third to receive emergency use authorization in the Philippines after Pfizer's and AstraZeneca's jabs.
CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac has been found to be up to 91.25% effective in trials in Turkey but other, more robust trials in Brazil only demonstrated an efficacy rate of around 50.4%.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo earlier said the use of Sinovac's vaccine was not recommended for healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 as it has an efficacy of 50.4% in this group.
But Health Sec. Francisco Duque on Wednesday said Sinovac's vaccine offers 100% protection against severe COVID-19.
Last month, Sinovac said it would provide the Philippines with a "very good price" following concerns over the supposed cost of the jabs in comparison to other COVID-19 vaccines.
Malacañang had said that the country is expecting some 600,000 COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac, of which 100,000 doses were donated by China.