The Philippines plans to procure more of the one-shot Sputnik Light anti-coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine after receiving its first batch, donated by Russia, on Friday.
A total of 5,000 doses of the Sputnik Light vaccine arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2, along with the 2,805,000 doses (1,402,500 doses each of Components I and II) of Sputnik V shots, which were procured by the Philippine government.
National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said negotiations are underway for the procurement of at least 10 million more doses of Sputnik Light.
“We are confident that these talks would yield positive results as we diversify our vaccine portfolio and scale up our vaccine throughput and achieve herd immunity by the first quarter of 2022,” Galvez said in an interview. “We are very happy that we will be renegotiating again for Sputnik Light.”
He said the government would allocate the first batch of the one-shot Sputnik Light vaccine to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has the lowest vaccination rate among the 17 regions, with about 320,000 fully inoculated out of the 2.9 million target population.
“Let’s give these to those who have yet to get) protection. I believe it is more useful na to use these) as first dose so we can at least protect right away the first 5,000,” Galvez said in Filipino.
He said the latest delivery of 2.8 million doses of Sputnik V completes the government’s procurement contract with the Russian Direct Investment Fund for the supply of 10 million doses.
“The completion of this contract is a testament to the robust relationship between our countries. Moreover, it demonstrates Russia’s strong commitment to helping provide greater vaccine accessibility to all nations, including the Philippines,” Galvez said. “We will be able to protect five million more Filipinos from the fatal effect of the Covid-19 virus and continue to bring down our active caseload and save more lives.”
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Sputnik Light vaccine may be more effective as a booster shot.
“The Sputnik Light may be better used for booster shots. It gives longer protection of about eight months beyond,” Duque said in another interview. “We’re going to have our vaccine expert panel review the documents.”
Galvez echoed Duque’s statements, saying the Sputnik Light could boost the primary doses that are adenoviral vector-based vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and the similar single-dose Janssen.
“There are many scholars in Jordan saying the Sputnik Light is good. And also, this fits with our heterologous or mix and match of boosters,” he said.
The Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization of the following vaccine brands to include an additional shot – Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sputnik Light.
The Sputnik Light could be administered as a booster shot or additional dose regardless of the vaccine brand of the first two shots.
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Marat Pavlov, DOH Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taiño, DOH Director Ariel Valencia, and Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corp. chair Benito Yap Aw and president Olivia Limpe Aw joined Duque and Galvez.