(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 19 April 2021) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "BISING" {SURIGAE} was located based on all available data at 250 km East of Virac, Catanduanes (14.0°N, 126.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 240 km/h. It is moving North Northwestward at 10 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. Light to moderate winds from Northwest to Southwest will prevail over the region with slight to moderate seas/ (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Top officials vouch for Sinovac’s efficacy, safety

Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, said the country’s health secretary and vaccine czar Wednesday night, citing assurances from the medical community.

In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting in MalacaƱang on government’s COVID-19 interventions, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Sinovac’s vaccine has 100-percent efficacy rate in preventing severe infections.

Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine has been clinically proven to reduce symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, prevent hospitalization and severe cases, thereby reducing deaths, Duque explained. 

“Sinovac belongs to that group that offers or provides 100-percent efficacy or effectiveness,” he told President Duterte, noting other countries inoculated their healthcare workers with Sinovac despite other indications in Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

For his part, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. also vouched for Sinovac’s safety and efficacy noting the jab has received an approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Galvez also cited world leaders getting Sinovac shot such as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

To allay fears and build public confidence, the vaccine czar said he, along with other top government officials, will also take the jab.

The Philippines and China are finalizing documentary requirements such as export permit and deed of acceptance to fast-track the delivery of the vaccines, Galvez noted.

The country expects to receive the first delivery of 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

It is also awaiting the delivery of 3.5 million doses of vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca and Pfizer, through the COVAX Facility, a global alliance that seeks to help poor countries vaccinate their populations.

Galvez, who is also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, reported that for the first quarter, the Philippines will receive a total of 5.1 million vaccine doses.

In the second quarter, a total of 24.1 million doses is expected to be delivered to the Philippines, which will come from COVAX and government procurements.

The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 1,557 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, February 24, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 566,420 with 523,321 recoveries and 12,129 deaths.  PND