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With no more AstraZeneca supply, Manila halts inoculation for seniors

The Manila government temporarily stopped the vaccination of senior citizens against COVID-19 on Wednesday after it ran out of AstraZeneca doses.

According to Dano Tingcungco's 24 Oras report, some senior citizens who went to vaccination sites in the city were asked to go home.

The Food and Drug Administration, which gave the Sinovac vaccine an emergency use authorization (EUA) to be used on individuals aged 18 to 59, said that it needs data from clinical trials before it can recommend it to senior citizens.

"Wala pang ebidensya or trial na nasagawa older aged groups para sa bakunang ito on the side of caution, let's try to align with EUA indications ng FDA [No trial on older-aged groups has been done yet with this vaccine, so let's try to align with the FDA's EUA indications] ," Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said in the report.

Julius Leonen of the Manila Public Information Office responded to the health department's remark: "If that's what the DOH [Department of Health] said, then the local government will comply."

The city government, meanwhile, continued the inoculation of people with comorbidities aged 18 to 59 years old, using the remaining supply of vaccines made by China-made Sinovac.

But long lines were seen at different vaccination centers such as in Ramon Magsaysay High School at Sampaloc, Manila where queues reached the sidewalks.

Noel Galao, a stroke survivor and a barangay care-taker, said he got vaccinated because his work requires him to interact with different people every day.

"So many people are getting sick. As a member of our barangay team, I have to be in good condition because I deal with people every day," he said in Filipino and English. — Consuelo Marquez/BM, GMA News