(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Saturday, 17 April 2021) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "BISING" (SURIGAE) was located based on all available data at 715 km East of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte (10.1°N, 132.0°E) with maximum sustained winds of 175 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 215 km/h. It is moving West Northwestward at 20 km/h. Caraga Region will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorm due to TY Bising. Possible flash floods or landslides during moderate to heavy rains. Moderate to strong winds from Northeast to Northwest will prevail over the region with moderate to rough seas / (2.5 to 4.0 meters).

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Gov’t considering vaccines from Gamaleya, Sinovac for next year’s rollout

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. reported to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday that he is working with the country’s vaccine experts to analyze the data of Russia’s Gamaleya and China’s Sinovac for a possible first quarter rollout in the Philippines.

During a meeting with President Duterte, Galvez said he has communicated with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and with the health and technical advisory groups to study the records of Gamaleya and Sinovac.

“Kung magiging successful tayo po sa Sinovac at saka Gamaleya kasi initial nila puwede sila sa first quarter,” Galvez told the President.

“Kaya po ang ginagawa namin pinapa-analyze naming mabuti sa ating vaccine expert ‘yung performance po ng Sinovac at saka ‘yung Gamaleya, ‘yung kanilang history at saka ‘yung potential adverse event at saka ‘yung mga record ng mga kanilang clinical trial.”

A “mini rollout” in the first quarter of next year is just fine, Galvez said, as the country could learn from the experiences of other countries that has conducted mass inoculations.

For instance, the Philippines can learn from UK’s experience, which has already conducted immunizations using a vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

“So kung paano mag-deploy ang Pfizer ganun po ang gagawin po natin para magkaroon tayo ng lessons learned at saka mawalan po tayo ng tinatawag na mga spillage at saka ‘yung mga wastage ng mga vaccine kasi very sensitive po ‘yung Pfizer,” he said.

Galvez said they are expecting major vaccine deliveries of around 10 to 15 million doses by the end of the second quarter or at the start of the third quarter next year as manufacturers cope with huge demand.

Pharmaceutical companies struggle to produce vaccines since securing raw materials takes some time, according to the country’s vaccine czar.

“So talagang ang production line po ay talagang nahihirapan din sila kasi mataas po ang demand.”

But aside from Gamaleya and Sinovac, the Philippine government is also negotiating with AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. It also has discussions with Moderna and Sinopharm.

Once contracts are sealed, the country could secure more than 60 million doses, which will be available in tranches next year, Galvez said. (PND)