THREAD: A Senate committee resumes its hearing on the government's COVID-19 vaccination plan | LIVE

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Some senators said they would still push for further details, including the exact cost, of China's Sinovac vaccine during today’s legislative inquiry…
Senate President Tito Sotto on Wednesday’s meeting with vaccine czar Carlito Galvez: We saw documents that will prove beneficial to our people. We came across information on the necessity of non-disclosure agreements
Sen. Sotto: We warned him about unscrupulous others who may take advantage of the negotiations. Sec. Galvez promised to keep us posted on updates on procurement deals
Vaccine czar Galvez, upon instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte, met with Sen. Sotto to share vaccine procurement details and hopefully clear issues for transparency…
Senator Franklin Drilon makes a manifestation: We never doubted the credibility of Sec. Galvez. We raised the issue on the pricing of Sinovac because of the constitutional provision that the right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized
Sen. Drilon: We defer to the judgement of Senate President not to make public, through this hearing, the Sinovac prices at a time when negotiations are ongoing. After the signing of the agreement, we will compel the publication of the price of Sinovac vaccine
Vaccine czar Galvez asks Congress: Please allow LGUs to make advance market payments. The law prohibits us from making advance payments.

He also urges the lawmakers not to impose taxes on COVID-19 vaccines
Sen. Drilon: Is Sec. Galvez committed to brief the Senate of Sinovac pricing after the supply contract is signed?

Vaccine czar Galvez: Yes, sir
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on issuing COVID-19 passports: The concept is being studied by our technical working group in the IATF. Ang konsepto ng passport ay kung nabakunahan ka, pwede ka nang pumunta sa mga lugar.
Senator Risa Hontiveros denies President Duterte's accusation that lawmakers have a preferred brand of COVID-19 vaccine
Sen. Hontiveros on vaccine deals: Milyon-milyon ang gagastusin natin dito kaya dapat makasulit ang mga Pilipino
Finance Usec. Mark Joven on a jurisprudence on the public’s right to information: There are certain exceptions including privilege information. Among the list of privilege information is trade secrets such as price list
Sen. Hontiveros says a certain Juan Miguel Arroyo of LTA Inc. sent a letter to the FDA. The email had no body but contained two attachments about Sinopharm.

The letter was from incumbent Rep. Mikee Arroyo, she says.
Sen. Hontiveros: Is LTA Inc. one of the distributors of Sinopharm?

FDA Director General Eric Domingo: The letter was sent by Rep. Mikee Arroyo in Nov. 2020. He wanted to share information on a vaccine that might be useful to the FDA (1/2)
FDA chief Domingo: I suggested that he send an email to the vaccine expert panel. He emailed the VEP. Pagkatapos, sumagot iyong VEP kung ano nga po ang intention. There was no further communication after that (2/2)
FDA says Sinopharm has not applied for EUA for its coronavirus vaccine
Sinopharm has been given conditional approval for general public use of its COVID-19 vaccine in mainland China
FDA chief Domingo says he does not find the email of Rep. Arroyo unusual, adds he always receives inquiries from government officials
Sen. Hontiveros asks if LTA Inc. has applied for a license to operate as a pharma importer. FDA replies, “No”
FDA chief Domingo on donated vaccines: Merong administrative order ang DOH na pwede silang tumanggap na produktong unregistered. DOH will be the one to apply for registration
FDA chief Domingo: Halimbawa, nagdonate kayo ng 50,000 doses (of medical products), tapos nanghingi ang DOH ng registration sa FDA tapos grinant ng FDA. Ang binibigay naming registration ay for those 50,000 doses lamang. Not for the product in general
Vaccine czar Galvez, citing experts, says inactivated vaccines are the safest to use
Vaccine czar Galvez: We have consultants abroad. They said the Sinovac vaccine is for elderly and vulnerable. Sinopharm vaccine is for general use
Senator Joel Villanueva echoes Sen. Drilon: We continue to respect his (Galvez) integrity and competence in negotiating for the Filipino people
Vaccine czar Galvez on dry-runs of COVID-19 vaccination: Some mayors responded positively. In NCR, we saw preparations being made. Our own dry run will be done next week until third week of Feb.
Testing czar Vince Dizon: The various technical working groups in the vaccine cluster are working with the DTI and DOLE to have a definitive list of priority essential workers
Testing czar Dizon on sectors in the initial vaccine priority list: Essential workers f romagriculture, forestry, fisheries, transportation, construction, food, tourism, essential retail, water refilling stations, laundry services (1/2)
Testing czar Dizon: Logistics and courier services, sanitation services, communication, energy, power, fuel. By next week, mafa-finalize itong list (2/2)
Testing czar Dizon: Once magkaroon ng definitive list, lahat ito ay iko-coordinate sa LGUs at mga ahensiya ng gobyerno
FDA on clinical trial participants who received placebo: Once na nakitang may magandang epekto ang bakuna, sila ang priority na mabigyan ng totoong bakuna
FDA chief Domingo: Iyong mga na-infect before wala na sila sa acute phase, they are still given the COVID-19 vaccines
FDA chief Domingo says there are still no results on studies on the possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccines on people with history of coronavirus disease
DOH Sec. Duque says part of the COVID-19 vaccination plan is monitoring of those who received the jabs: Babantayan natin ang serious adverse effects at kakaiba na kaganapan sa isang taong nabakunahan
DOH Sec. Duque: Ang PhilHealth ang sasagot kung may matinding side effects ang mga bakunang ito... We will be careful in the administration of coronavirus vaccines
DOH Sec. Duque: Mayroon tayong mga life-saving medications sa vaccination sites
DOH Sec. Duque asks Congress to pass a bill that sets up an indemnification fund for Filipinos who may suffer from adverse side effects of COVID-19 vaccines
DOH Sec. Duque on vaccines: Apat po ang ating layunin — reduce and prevent deaths, reduce symptoms, and reduce asymptomatic cases, prevent hospitalizations
DOH Sec. Duque says COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Moderna prevent 100% of severe disease occurrence
FDA chief Domingo: Kapag tayo ay naglabas ng EUA, may mga conditions iyon. Katulad po ng Pfizer — nakalagay po sa product information na kailangan magiingat tayo sa mga may allergy. Madadagdag narin po ang mga elderly and frail na maraming sakit
The FDA earlier said it may exclude elderly people with critical illnesses from the list of people who could receive Pfizer’s vaccine. This possibility was raised after 23 elderly patients in Norway reportedly died days after receiving the US pharmaceutical giant’s vaccine.
Pfizer's vaccine's side-effects are rare and usually mild similar to common vaccine reactions. But FDA says it is possible that the “weak bodies” of very old, sick patients could not handle “mild adverse reactions” from the Pfizer vaccine.…
Vaccine czar Galvez reiterates the coronavirus vaccines to be procured using public funds will be selected by the vaccine expert panel, and anti-coronavirus shots that have received emergency use authorization shall be administered to eligible recipients
FDA chief Domingo says it is possible that those old and sick patients in Norway who died after receiving the Pfizer vaccine were not able to handle the mild side effects of the anti-coronavirus shots
FDA chief Domingo: Kapag tayo nagbakuna na magiingat na sa mga matatandang matanda at may sakit. Sila ay ie-exlude na sa pagbabakuna
DOST-PCHRD Director Jaime Montoya on possible vaccine overdose: Ito po ay unlikely na mangyari
DILG Usec. Epimaco Densing: We released an advisory days ago for LGUs which set aside funds for vaccines. Provincial governments will consolidate procurements of municipalities and component cities (1/2)
DILG: Other cities are allowed to enter into tripartite agreements. They are only allowed to buy vaccines for 50% of their population (2/2)…
DILG: Some of the vaccines allotted for highly urbanized cities will be reallocated to smaller LGUs which are not capable of procuring their own vaccines
Vaccine czar Galvez assures LGUs which cannot afford to buy their own vaccines will receive anti-coronavirus shots from the national government
Senator Francis Tolentino advises FDA to craft guidelines to prevent additional bureaucratic red tape when donees would have to receive foreign donations
Vaccine czar Galvez says Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is the most widely used jab in the world
DOH Sec. Sec. Duque: Wala pa po malinaw na datos kung gaano katagal ang proteksyon na naibibigay ng bawat bakuna (COVID-19 vaccines)
FDA chief Domingo on effectiveness of anti-coronavirus shots: Based on earliest clinical trials — we know na effective siya until 9 months. Hindi natin alam kung effective siya after one year
DOST-PCHRD Director Jaime Montoya says current evidence suggests the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines may vary depending on one’s race: Differences are not that significant pero may pagkakaiba
DOH Sec. Duque says the ‘best possible vaccine’ would be given to frontline healthcare workers
Senator Ralph Recto: We should give Filipinos the best possible vaccine
FDA chief Domingo says as a general rule set by the World Health Organization, vaccinating pregnant women with coronavirus jabs are not recommended.

Domingo: However, kung at high-risk iyong buntis, maaaring i-examine ng doctor kung babakunahan siya
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan: Is Feb. 20 the target date of vaccine rollout?

Vaccine czar Galvez: Yes. But in case the EUA is not issued on that date, we can move it to last week of Feb. or March.

Vaccines that may be used are those from the COVAX facility and Sinovac, he adds.
Vaccine czar Galvez says subject to supply, all health workers will be inoculated within one month
Vaccine czar Galvez: Majority of the volumes will be coming in at 3rd and 4th quarter so we expect massive inoculation in those dates and we also assume that we will finish all inoculations by first quarter of 2022
DOH Sec. Duque says it will take 45 days to complete inoculation of 24.6 million Filipinos using non-Pfizer vaccine: Sa Pfizer po kasi medyo komplikado ang storage kaya kailangan mas mabilis
Sen. Pangilinan asks if there is an ideal time for the roll out of the vaccination program to achieve herd immunity. However, Galvez and Duque say they do not have data on this and reiterates that they target to complete the program by 2022.
DOH Sec. Duque on issuance of vaccine passports: Pinagaaralan pa po ito kasi wala pang malinaw na ebidensiya na nagpapakita na ang mga bakunang ito ay maiiwasan ang hawaan... Kasama na po sa vaccination, bibigyan po ng card ang recipient. Nakalagay po doon lahat ng detalye
Senator Grace Poe on revealing prices of vaccines: Basically you do not want to divulge the real price so you are lying to the public? (1/2)
Vaccine czar Galvez: These are the special price that is included in the NDA since the company is also negotiating with other countries... They do not want to compromise other negotiations (2/2)
Vaccine czar Galvez: Ang lumalabas po sa newspaper are the indicative price or market price not the negotiated price.

He assures that prices will be revealed by the time agreements are settled.
DOH Sec. Duque on indemnifying those that will experience serious side effects: Iyong aming pinakikiusap, baka pwedeng isabatas ang indemnification fund. Pero may sistema na po tayo para asikasuhin ang magkakaroon ng side effects… Mayroon rin po tayong no balance billing
DILG: Lahat po nang dapat bakunahanpero hindi naisama sa listahan, dama ipagbigay alam ito sa barangay. Iaangat ito sa municipal and city level so the DOH can take note of their name
Senator Imee Marcos asks if quarantine or swab testing will still be required after being inoculated prior to returning to work, or doing other activities.

DOH Sec. Duque: Ito po ay paguusapan pa para malinaw ang guidelines at panibagong protocols.
Senator Richard Gordon: Within now, magumpisa na tayo na i-organisa ang mga tao na mayroon na silang kanya-kanyang primary healthcare provider in accordance with law. It must be given priority.
DOH Sec. Duque: Yes, Mr. Chair. We will be doing this with PhilHealth as they will be the financier of these primary health care facilities.
DOH Sec. Duque: There are 4,500 immunization sites across the country but this will not be enough. We need to augment this by identifying the primary health care providers to which we will start the registration of the potential recipients.
Sen. Gordon to DOH Sec. Duque: Pakiusapan nyo rin ang PhilHealth na magbayad na on time para mas mabilis tayo kasi minsan kinakapos kami. Katulad ngayon kakapusin na kami ng testing.
RELATED: Sen. Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine Red Cross, earlier called on PhilHealth to immediately settle at least ₱500 million of its over ₱762 million debts with the organization.…
DOH Sec. Duque: Nakikipagugnayan na po ang supply chain management ng DOH sa mga third party logistics provider na sila na po ang mangangasiwa mula sa pagdating ng bakuna. Mula sa brokerage, storage, warehousing, hauling, and actual distribution to the sites.
DOH Sec. Duque reiterates that based on safety and other technical data, the vaccines can prevent or reduce deaths, prevent or reduce symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, and also prevent progression to severe disease and hospitalization.
DOH Sec. Duque: Baka magkaroon naman po ng datos na ang mga bakunang ito ay makakapagpigil ng hawaan and therefore the goal of herd immunity will be realized sooner than later.
Vaccine czar Galvez on COVAX facility: Iyong ating application ay nagkaroon ng confirmation Kami po ay nagpepe-prapare na para sa possible deployment po of COVAX vaccine this first quarter.
Vaccine czar Galvez on Moderna: Ongoing pa rin po. Nagiintay pa rin po ng kanilang counter proposals. Mayroon po kaming pinabago na maging general muna nag provisions and later na ang payments and details ng ating support agreement.
Vaccine czar Galvez: May tripartite po tayo dito kasama po ang private sector at LGU. Ang comparative price po ay medyo mataas so ang ginawa po namin nagusa po kami ni Amb. Romualdez na magkaroon ng partnership considering that there are LGUs that want to procure Moderna.
Vaccine czar Galvez: As of this moment very positive po. More or less 8 million na po ang nakuha ng LGU at private sector.
FDA chief Domingo on AstraZeneca EUA application: Noong Monday iyong experts natin po may question na ipinadala and they promised… today daw po nila ibabalik ang mga sagot. Hopefully by next week ma-complete po ang evaluation.
Senator Nancy Binay asks if Sinovac's EUA application can be approved on time given that 50,000 doses are expected to be delivered on Feb. 20
FDA: Hindi po natin maisgurado. Noong Wednesday pa lang po sila nagbiay ng phase 3 clinical trial reports and we sent these to the experts yesterday. Depende po so mga sagot nila.
FDA: Best case scenario po iyon. Ibig sabihinn napakagaling ng sagot at well documented. Maari po pero maari rin pong mas mahaba ng kaunti.
FDA says they target to complete evaluation of AstraZeneca's EUA application before January ends, while Gamaleya and Sinovac’s will be before the end of February.
DOST-PCHRD on choosing one vaccine brand: We consider them of the same benefit but as more pieces of evidence come out… we may be able to identify certain vaccines that may better than the rest.
DOST-PCHRD: As of now we have to look at the different technology platforms and their advantages and disadvantages and once they are approved by the FDA then they will be included in the portfolio.
DOH Sec. Duque says the MMDA together with Metro Manila mayors and the Economic Development council will have a meeting on Monday regarding easing age restrictions in NCR.
RELATED: The IATF eased the age restrictions in areas under modified general community quarantine, allowing children aged 10 to 14 years old to go out beginning Feb. 1.
Vaccine czar Galvez: We are talking with DepEd and CHED on how we can reconfigure schools so that we can have limited face-to-face. Hopefully with the coming of the vaccine, we will prioritize the education sector.
Janette Jakosalem from Zuellig Pharma Philippines: Manufacturers specify strict temperature requirements and if you deviate the recommendation is the vaccine cannot be used anymore.
Zuellig Pharma: It’s not only the storage. You need to make sure that you have processes in place. You have the necessary LTOs and also the warehouse facility will have to go through the process to acquire LTO from the FDA… (1/2)
Zuellig Pharma: It's not easy to just convert facility from agriculture to pharma grade. (2/2)
Zuellig Pharma: We are coordination with some LGUs. We also offered training on how to handle the vaccine, but the preference is they have to go through a pharma grade warehouse. We do not subscribe to LGUs opting to do the warehousing themselves.
Vaccine czar Galvez: Our focus is more on saving lives. The political direction on WPS, it is distinct from our effort on health.
DFA Asec. Tamayo: Our transactions on vaccine supply with global partners and the blat do not have strings attached.
DFA Asec. Tamayo: Vaccine diplomacy would at best be an expression of good will and solidarity of the Philippines during this time of the pandemic.
Sen. Hontiveros asks if it's possible that the PH’s negotiated prices are

Galvez says its possible depending on the terms of the contract.
Galvez: We always negotiated on the sense of fairness and it would be of terms…. Nakikita po natin nasa advantage po tayo.
On the ₱3,629.50 price of Sinovac that DOH earlier mentioned, Duque says they based the computation on a Reuters article that said a shot of the vaccine is worth $60, and added VAT and inflation rate.
Vaccine czar Galvez on the WHO solidarity trial: The brand is not yet identified by WHO. Supposed to be its on Jan. 15 but because of the delay in deliberation, it was pushed to first week of Feb.
Montoya: Up to this point, they have not issued a recommendation as to what vaccine will be included in the solidarity trial.
Sen. Lacson: Regarding Sinovac, the controversy started with the submission of the price of last November to the Senate - ₱3,629. What was the basis of the submitted figure? DOH submitted that figure to the Committee on Finance.
DOH Sec. Duque: I was told Ginoogle nila at lumabas sa Reuters. We will submit the copy to the committee. Nagcompute for VAT so 300 plus, at inassume na inflation of another 10% so ₱3,629.50.
Sen. Lacson on submitted ₱3600 figure: So news report ng Reuters (ang basis), there was no effort to check with Sinovac itself? Because official submission 'yun and maybe this would serve as a good lesson na bago magsubmit medyo validated 'yung data.
DOH Sec. Duque: At the time wala pa po nakakausap na manufacturing companies so they had to source third party information.
Sen. Hontiveros: Do you know if Rep. Mikee Arroyo followed up on his e-mail to our health authorities about Sinopharm?

MKG representative Mark Tolentino: I have no personal knowledge about the followup to FDA…
Sen. Hontiveros: Is Sinopharm aware that there are allegations that it was your vaccine used on the Presidential Security Group? What are you doing to address a possible leak to the black market? (1/3)
Tolentino: FDA gave us the opportunity to explain vaccine smuggling and we responded after six days. We categorically deny all the allegations because in the first place, based on our record, we've never imported or distributed to the Philippines yet. (2/3)
Tolentino: We just got our license to operate.

MKG Universal Drug Trading Corp. is Sinopharm's local distributor, Tolentino says. (3/3)
Tolentino says the MKG executive interviewed in a radio station today was not authorized to speak in behalf of the company: I know the person but he has no authority to talk in behalf of MKG.
Tolentino asserts he is the authorized representative of MKG.
Montoya confirms Tolentino was present in a Zoom meeting between government officials and Sinopharm officials from China but he adds that they requested another representative with technical knowledge.
Sen. Lacson to FDA: Would you confirm if there is a negotiation between MKG and FDA?

FDA: Not with FDA. MKG sinulatan lang sila kung paano nakapasok 'yung vaccine.
Montoya: When we had an initial meeting with the group in China who are the developers of Sinopharm, it true that Mr. Tolentino was in the audience. He introduced himself as the official representative of the company in the Philippines, but he is not a technical person.
Montoya: We requested the company to appoint a technical person. We did not have communication subsequent to that with Atty. Tolentino because he is involved in the marketing side.
Sen Lacson: Ito ba yung letter ni chairman of the bard Liu Jingzhen kay Sec. Duque dated May 22 which Sec. Duque endorsed to DOST, and DOST said during the first hearing they got confused there are at least two claimant to be represent Sinopharm in the country. (1/2)
Tolentino: I have no personal knowledge Mr. Senator [of another representative]. (2/2)
Sen. Lacson asks if the DOH checked the authenticity of the letter. (1/4)
Montoya: On Oct 19, 2020, DOST received a letter from Access International, supposed to be licensed local importer informing the department of their intent to register Sinopharm vaccine for phase 3 clinical trial. (2/4)
Montoya: On the 23rd, we received a letter from Centuria Medical Makati informing us that they were negotiating with Sinopharm group regarding a possible clinical trial in the country. (3/4)
Montoya: We were confused.. that is why we had official communications with Chinese group that we will deal directly with them. (4/4)
DOST Sec. Fortunato dela Peña: Before those dates, the CDA was actually sent to us by Sinpharm on Aug. 19. This was after a series of exchange. (1/4)
Dela Peña: Finally they sent to us a signed copy on Aug 19. On our end, we were ready with an electronically signed CDA addressed to Sinopharm which we resent to them. We also transmitted the original to the Chinese embassy in Manila to make sure it will reach Sinopharm. (2/4)
Dela Peña: The proposal of Sinopharm... One is they can conduct vaccine trial but we have to spend for it, and second the we will accept the phase 1 and 2 trials in China and the phase 3 they are doing n other countries. (3/4)
Dela Peña: That is the time when we informed them that we are only ready to finance clinical trials for the WHO. (4/4)
Tolentino: Initially, Sinopharm offered to the PH and Malaysia free clinical trials, but after two weeks UAE offered they will shoulder the expenses that is why it was transferred to UAE. (1/2)
Tolentino: After that, we returned to the PH for the clinical trial, that is the time they said the PH will shoulder the costs. (2/2)
Sen. Hontiveros: Tungkol sa wastage, sa presentation ng DOH ten percent projected na posibleng masayang (vaccines).

DOH Sec. Duque: I am told ang binigay 5% daw 'yung refusal. (1/2)
Sen. Hontiveros: And of course gusto natin ibaba 'yun through campaigns to raise vaccine confidence.

Duque: Yes through risk communication activities that the DOH has started so as much as possible we don't want anything going to waste because that is taxpayers' money. (2/2)
DOH Sec. Duque: Ang WHO mayroon silang benchmark na pwedeng magakroon ng wastage -- 5%.
Sec. Galvez: We are trying to communicate with LGUs, DOH, the supplier so that we can have that supply agreement ready and have the provider in pharma-grade transportation that will be helping us to prevent wastage.
Galvez: Wastage of a big amount is not allowable. We have seen some lapses in other countries and we are looking through these with our consultant to minimize wastage. (1/2)
Galvez: We are trying to inform LGUs they should have an expanded recipient so that if there is refusal, there is a reserve for the vaccine. (2/2)
Zuellig Pharma: Iyong potential wastage can also come from vaccines expiring while inside the warehouse kaya importante na the warehouse or the handler has the capability to manage it based on first expiry, first out.
Zuellig Pharma: We anticipate that the shelf life will be very short. Six months lang po. If wala nung first expiry, first out, yung tendency is to move out the product closest to the door.
Zuellig Pharma: In your warehouse system, importante na you not only track batch and lot numbers, but also expiration dates and that you have visibility of where specific items are, and you can only do that if you are automated and your people are trained.
Sen. Sotto: The proceedings, many issues were clarified, particularly the prices of the vaccines, roll out plans, a timeline, and modes of procurement, priority groups.
Sen. Sotto: We hope that the committee hearings had been beneficial to the legislative department so that we could come up with needed legislation, and to the executive department to improve its COVID-19 vaccination program.
Sen. Sotto: Your plan is good. We hope the implementation will be as good.

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