Philippines approves AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

The Philippines has signed deals with AstraZeneca for 17 million doses. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - The Philippines has cleared AstraZeneca's coronavirus shots for emergency use, paving the way for the expected roll-out of these vaccines next quarter.

The Food and Drug Administration found AstraZeneca's vaccine to be effective in preventing coronavirus infections, the local regulator's head Eric Domingo said in a televised briefing over state-run PTV-4 channel on Thursday (Jan 28). Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine was given a similar approval earlier this month.

The Philippines has signed deals with AstraZeneca for 17 million doses, with first shipments expected to arrive in May. The nation, which has South-east Asia's second-worst outbreak, aims to inoculate more than half of its population this year, as the government banks on vaccine roll-out to support economic recovery.

AstraZeneca will provide storage and transport for its vaccines, which can be used only for those aged 18 and older, Mr Domingo said. Sinovac Biotech and Russia's Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology last week submitted to Philippine regulators late-stage trial data for their emergency use applications.

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