By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Nikkei Asia

National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday the coronavirus vaccines from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac will be granted an emergency use authorization before February 20.

“Iyong EUA po ng Sinovac, maa-approve po before February 20. Maganda ang arrangement natin kasi may darating kada buwan,” Galvez said during the day's Laging Handa public briefing.

“50,000 doses of Sinovac sa February, tapos 950,000 sa  March, tapos one million, two million, 3 million kada buwan,” he added.

However, Sinovac has yet to apply an EUA before the country’s Food and Drug Administration. Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said the Sinovac and Sinopharm is set to seek EUA this month.

“As far as we know they will be applying within the month,” Arriola said at the Laging Handa briefing.

Sinovac was consolidating the late-stage trial results of CoronaVac vaccine in Brazil and Turkey which will be submitted to the FDA, Galvez said.

He added the Chinese company is awaiting approvals for public use and export authority from Chinese government.

“By first week of February, China will issue EUA [to Sinovac] for general use and for export kasi iyong EUA nila [ngayon] is for limited use na nakuha nila noong August [2020],” he said.

United States firm Pfizer, Britain’s AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute were also currently under FDA’s evaluation after it applied for EUA.

The government targets to inoculate 70 million people this year, with vaccination programs are set to begin next month.

Sinovac has been issued EUA in Indonesia after human trials there showed it is at least 65% effective. Indonesia is the first country outside of China to grant EUA on Sinovac.