FDA allows Duterte's security to use Sinopharm vaccines through 'compassionate' permit

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte's close-in security group has been granted a special permit to use unregistered COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Chinese firm Sinopharm, his spokesperson said on Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Food and Drug Administration approved the Presidential Security Group's application for "compassionate special permit" to access 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines.

"Nag-issue ng compassionate use license ang ating FDA para sa 10,000 dosage ng Sinopharm. Ito ay sang-ayon sa application ng ating Presidential Security Group," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: FDA issued a compassionate use license for 10,000 doses of Sinopharm based on the application of the Presidential Security Group.]

He added the access given to PSG may also cover the family of the personnel since the total number of close-in security staff will not reach 10,000.

The compassionate special permit will allow the PSG to access the specified number of unregistered vaccines in the absence of an emergency use authorization from the FDA. It may also allow PSG and their families to skip the line of the government's COVID-19 priority list. Under the plan, uniformed personnel are fourth in the said list.

FDA Director Eric Domingo said the special permit was issued on Wednesday after the PSG complied with all the application requirements.

"The PSG Hospital takes full responsibility for the vaccines and will report utilization and outcomes to FDA," he said.

Duterte's security team faced several investigations after it was revealed that its members were inoculated with smuggled COVID-19 vaccines as early as September 2020, despite the absence of an FDA-approved vaccine in the country.

The Health Department said the compassionate use permit is for future utilization of the vaccine and cannot be applied retroactively.