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No approved COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines as yet –FDA

There is, as of yet, no approved vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines, Food and Drug Administration Director-General Eric Domingo said Monday as he urged the public not patronize unauthorized immunizations.

Domingo made the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday claimed that many Filipinos, including some members of the military, already had themselves inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm even as it has yet to get approval from the FDA.

“Kami po, pinapaalala po namin sa lahat na wala pa pong ina-approve ang FDA na vaccine dito sa atin,” Domingo said.

“Ibig pong sabihin, wala pa pong distributor na licensed na kumuha sa atin ng authorization at ‘yong mga alam natin na marunong mag-handle, mag-distribute at mag-dispense ng mga vaccine na ito ay wala pa po sa atin at this time kaya we really would like to advise everybody na mag-ingat po bago po sila magpa-inject ng kahit ano sa kanilang katawan ay hintayin na lang siguro nila ‘yong talagang government program ng immunization for COVID-19,” he added.

Domingo said the FDA is still investigating reports on unauthorized COVID-19 vaccinations but it has yet to arrest any individuals involved.

Last month, it was reported that Senator Panfilo Lacson and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez already had themselves injected against COVID-19. Lacson played coy when asked about it, while Romualdez kept mum.

Pfizer-BioNTech has applied for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine on December 23, which may allow it to be the first to be made available in the country.

So far, the Philippines has recorded a total of 469,886 cases of COVID-19 including 438,678 recoveries and 9,109 fatalities. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/DVM, GMA News