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Roque: Sinovac vaccine arrival signals end of COVID pandemic in Philippines

The arrival of 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Chinese government to the Philippines -- the first COVID-19 vaccine to reach Philippine shores -- brings spark of hope of an end of the pandemic in the country, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“Masayang masaya po, buong Pilipinas po nagdiriwang, patapos na po ang pandemya, nariyan na ang bakuna,” Roque said in an interview over state-run PTV after the vaccines landed in Villamor Air Base.

“Itong (pagdating ng bakuna) ay pag-asa. Makakabalik na tayo sa ating mga [dating buhay]. Nagsimula na po tayo, tuloy-tuloy na po tayo [sa bakunahan],” Roque added.

Earlier, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA’s) initially warned against the use of Sinovac on health workers since its efficacy rate on such group only reached 50.4%.

President Duterte, however, questioned this FDA decision, Roque had said.

The Department of Heath and its panel of vaccine experts eventually recommended the use of Sinovac on health workers, saying that such is beneficial and will 100% prevent moderate and severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Despite this recommendation, a number of groups of health workers, including those in the state-run Philippine General Hospital (PGH), refused to be inoculated with a Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.

Moreover, PGH spokesperson and Dr. Jonas del Rosario revealed that only 12% of the PGH personnel are willing to be inoculated with a Sinovac vaccine.

By Saturday night, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, former long-time aide of the President, announced that 525,600 doses of Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility will be arriving in the country by noon of March 1.

Health workers in the National Capital Region are expected to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines by March 1. —LBG, GMA News