Medical frontliner willing to receive Chinese-made vaccine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — Amid doubts in the effectivity of COVID-19 vaccine made by China's Sinovac Biotech, a health worker is willing to get inoculated with it once it gets approval from the Philippines' regulatory bodies.

Dr. Rontgene Solante, who heads the San Lazaro Hospital Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Department, said he has been waiting to be vaccinated, as the country finalizes its deals with numerous pharmaceutical firms from different parts of the world.

"Yes, frankly, we are excited. I am really waiting that that vaccine (Sinovac) will be available after approval from FDA, regulatory officers," Solante told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

He noted that aside from Sinovac's vaccine, which was reported to only have at least a 50% effectivity, he can also receive any shot "that passes any appropriate regulatory process."

"I think we should encourage everyone, the frontliners, they should receive the vaccine," he said. "This is the most critical time to receive this vaccine in order for us to be protected in this pandemic."

The government has been facing backlash over the past months for its alleged preference for vaccines by Sinovac, which has just applied for emergency use authorization on Wednesday.

An EUA issuance from regulators is required for vaccines to be legally rolled out in the country.

READ: China's Sinovac applies in PH for COVID-19 vaccine's emergency use 

The Department of Health earlier announced that the country is set to receive 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac this year, with the first 50,000 doses available as early as February.

READ: PH secures 25 million Sinovac doses, first 50,000 available in February

The government was earlier criticized for the alleged inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines on President Rodrigo Duterte's close-in security detail, even as the country has yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccine for rollout. These came amid ongoing criticisms of the government's preference for China-made vaccines.

Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which was jointly developed by the firms from U.S. and Germany, was the first to be granted an EUA in the Philippines on Thursday, as announced by Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo. Health authorities earlier reported that it yielded 95% efficacy in preventing infections after a person receives the two doses.