Biz group awaits final FDA go-signal, approved tripartite deal to negotiate for Covaxin doses

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — A business group said it is still waiting for the go signal and signed tripartite agreement from the Philippine government to proceed with vaccine supply negotiations with India’s Bharat Biotech.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Rex Daryanani, chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Philippines, said they are waiting for the Food and Drug Administration’s final approval of the Covaxin vaccine after it issued a conditional emergency use authorization for the coronavirus shot in April, pending the submission of a good manufacturing practices certification.

“We are also working for the tripartite agreement to be approved. Once that is done then we go into high gear in negotiating with Bharat Biotech for stocks of Covaxin to come in,” he added.

Daryanani said the Philippines initially had access to 20 million doses of Covaxin, but lost them to Brazil due to the processing of needed documents.

Currently, the country is assured of 8 million doses, which are expected to arrive by the last week of May. But delivery may be affected due to the decision of the major vaccine manufacturer to put on hold vaccine exportation to address their worsening local pandemic situation.

“We have been assured close to 8 million doses for the Philippines but sadly with what is happening now in India… we do understand the need for the Indian government to put a hold on their exports because they badly need it,” Daryanani explained.

On May 4, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. recommended areas to be prioritized in the government’s inoculation program, as the country expects delays in the delivery of doses from global manufacturers due to the COVID-19 surge in India. He noted that immunization will focus in areas with a high number of active cases, including the epicenter Metro Manila.