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PGH ready to accept any COVID-19 vaccine brand, says exec

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is ready to receive any brand of coronavirus vaccine, hospital director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi said Thursday ahead of the expected delivery of Sinovac jabs.

“Kung anuman ang unang bakunang darating ay tatanggapin namin at ang aming batayan sa pagtatanggap nito ay ang EUA (emergency use authorization) na ibibigay ng ating FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” he said in a virtual briefing.

“We all know that if the FDA gives any vaccine the EUA, the safety and efficacy are assured,” he added.

The Sinovac vaccines donated by the Chinese government are expected to arrive on Sunday, Malacañang said. 

Legaspi said the PGH has prepared the infrastructure and logistical requirements for vaccines.

“I think the important thing to remember here is whatever vaccine comes, we should welcome it because it will definitely make a difference in helping control the spread of this infection,” he said.

The hospital director earlier reported that 94% of PGH personnel expressed willingness to get vaccinated in a survey. 

Legaspi clarified, however, that the hospital staff had Pfizer vaccines in mind at the time since 117,000 doses from the American firm were initially expected to be rolled out in mid-February. 

“Bago pa man po malaman ng mga tao ng PGH noong early January kung anong bakuna ang darating, ang aming initial survey... 75% are willing to have the vaccine, so I hope we still get that 75% of our population and it will still be a good number,” he said.

Legaspi also allayed fears that the Sinovac jab offers little to no protection for health workers, stressing that all vaccines approved by the FDA so far—Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac—offer 100% protection against severe COVID-19.

“Hindi naman porket nabakunahan ng Sinovac ay walang proteksyon. Ang ibig lang sabihin, ang proteksyon niya ay hindi as high to prevent mild symptoms from occurring, which probably magiging dahilan to para hindi makapasok ang HCWs sa ospital,” he said.

“Siguro ‘yun ang basis ng FDA para sabihin na hindi siya ideal para sa healthcare workers dahil kahit mild symptom, hindi sila papasok pag nagkaroon sila ng mild symptom at mababawasan ang manpower sa ating ospital.”

The FDA does not recommend Sinovac for health workers due to its lower efficacy rate of 50.4% in the said group, but they can still get it if they choose to.  — RSJ, GMA News