Philippines Clears Covid Vaccines From J&J, India’s Bharat Biotech

The Philippines has authorized the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine days after the U.S. suspended use due to a rare side effect.

The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration approved J&J’s application, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said at a televised briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night. It’s eyeing up to 10 million doses from J&J, Galvez said.

The Philippines is pushing to speed up inoculations and targeting to vaccinate all adults amid a new surge in coronavirus infections that has dimmed its economic outlook.

India-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd.’s vaccine was also approved for emergency use, CNN Philippines said, citing Philippine FDA head Eric Domingo. Vaccines from Pfizer Inc., AstraZeneca Plc., Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Russia’s Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology were earlier given similar approvals.

The Southeast Asian nation is expecting as many as 14 million vaccine doses this quarter, mostly from Sinovac and Gamaleya, Galvez said. Almost 200,000 Pfizer vaccine doses may also arrive this month, he said.

Other Highlights

  • Foregone wages resulting from five weeks of strict movement curbs in the capital and nearby provinces will reach 83.3 billion pesos, Economic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said in the same briefing.
  • Rough rice production in the first quarter rose 7.2% from a year ago to 4.57 million metric tons. The Philippines, one of the world’s major rice importers, targets to produce a record 20.4 million metric tons this year or 93% of its requirements, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
  • The Philippines plans to import about 400,000 metric tons of pork this year to help meet this year’s requirement of 1.62 million metric tons, Dar said.

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