Philippines Approves AstraZeneca Vaccine for Emergency Use

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The Philippines has cleared AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus shots for emergency use, paving the way for the expected rollout of these vaccines next quarter.

The Food and Drug Administration found AstraZeneca’s vaccine to be effective in preventing coronavirus infections, the local regulator’s head Eric Domingo said in a televised briefing over state-run PTV-4 channel on Thursday. Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine was given a similar approval earlier this month.

The Philippines has signed deals with AstraZeneca for 17 million doses, with first shipments expected to arrive in May. The nation, which has Southeast Asia’s second-worst outbreak, targets to inoculate more than half of its population this year, as the government banks on vaccine rollout to support economic recovery.

AstraZeneca will provide storage and transport for its vaccines, which can be used only for persons aged 18 and older, Domingo said. Sinovac Biotech Ltd and Russia’s Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology last week submitted to Philippine regulators late-stage trial data for their emergency use applications.

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