Metro Manila — After delivery delays, the first batch of Russia-made Sputnik V vaccines has arrived in the Philippines.
The initial shipment of 15,000 doses landed in Manila Saturday afternoon.
The cargo was welcomed by select task force officials including Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, as well as Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov.
The arrival of the vaccines developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute was originally scheduled in April, but delivery was delayed to logistical issues.
Who is it for?
Earlier in the day, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the initial batch of Sputnik V will be distributed to four “big” cities in Metro Manila which she did not yet name.
Vergeire explained the vaccines will be rolled out only in select local governments because of complex storage requirements.
Sputnik V vaccines come in liquid and powdered form. The liquid doses must be stored in ultra-cold temperatures. The powdered version, which has to be diluted before vaccination, can be kept in normal refrigerator temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius, making it easier to transport and store.
Vaccination to continue despite Brazil ban
Vergeire said the Philippines will use Sputnik V despite reports in Brazil against the vaccine.
Brazilian health regulator Anvisa cited “inherent risks” and lack of information on the Russian vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
“Kung sakali pong may ibang mga makikita around the globe about this, the manufacturers of Sputnik V have that responsibility to the Philippine government to submit to us these kinds of findings,” Vergeire explained during the Laging Handa briefing. “Sa ngayon, wala pa naman tayong natatanggap na ganito.“
[Translation: In case we see developments like these around the globe, the manufacturers of Sputnik V have that responsibility to the Philippine government to submit to us these kinds of findings. For now, we have not received such reports.]
She said a possible reevaluation of the Emergency Use Authorization granted to Sputnik V may only happen if the manufacturer submits additional documents.
“Kailangan hong pag-aralan lang. But tuloy pa rin po ang ating pagbabakuna,” she noted.