MANILA, Jan. 14 (ABS-CBN) — The Philippines has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday, as the government aims to inoculate 100,000 to 200,000 Filipinos daily in a national vaccine rollout.
The approval comes 3 weeks since the US-based company applied for an emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines.
Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one that has been included in the World Health Organization’s emergency list. Among other vaccine frontrunners, it also has EUAs in the most number of countries.
An EUA allows Pfizer’s vaccine to be imported, distributed and administered in the Philippines through a national immunization program.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said on Wednesday that Pfizer may be the first vaccine to enter the country through the help of COVAX Facility, an international platform that aims for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. This means Pfizer may be the first vaccine to be used in the country, ahead of China’s vaccines from biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac.
Unlike other vaccines, Pfizer and BioNtech uses a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, which taps newer technology. It has an effectivity rate of 95 percent but requires ultra cold storage, making it difficult for poor countries to import and store it.
Galvez earlier said that the Pfizer vaccine will most likely be used in Metro Manila and other areas near the vaccine hubs in Cebu and Davao because of its storage requirements.