COVID-19

Philippines eyes purchase of 5 to 10 million Gamaleya vaccine doses

Sofia Tomacruz
Philippines eyes purchase of 5 to 10 million Gamaleya vaccine doses

VACCINE SUPPLY. Vials of the Sputnik V vaccine are seen at the Del-Pest Central Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2021.

Photo by Zoltan Balogh/MTI/MTVA/Pool via Reuters

The Gamaleya Research Institute's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine first needs to secure emergency approval in the Philippines

The Philippines is eyeing the purchase of 5 to 10 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr said on Wednesday, March 17.

Galvez said in a statement that talks would commence once the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration grants Gamaleya’s COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, the required emergency use authorization (EUA) for it to be deployed in the country. 

The FDA earlier received an application requesting emergency use for Gamaleya’s vaccine last January 7, though a full review only started in late January after additional data from late-stage trial data was submitted to the agency. 

Galvez earlier said he expected the FDA to issue a decision on Gamaleya’s EUA in the next few weeks. 

Why this matters

Securing up to 10 million doses of Gamaleya’s shot will add to the Philippines stockpile of vaccines consisting of donated emergency doses from Sinovac and the COVAX global facility led by the World Health Organization.

If a supply deal with Gamaleya is sealed, it will be the second done by Galvez who has pledged to secure at least 148 million doses for Filipinos this year – just enough to inoculate 70 million adult Filipinos needed to reach herd immunity. Earlier this week, Galvez closed a deal for 30 million doses of the Novavax vaccine to be manufactured in India. 

Peer-reviewed results have also demonstrated that Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is safe, has nearly 92% efficacy against symptomatic cases of COVID-19, and provided complete protection against severe cases. 

Peer-reviewed analysis of data from Sputnik V’s trials bolstered confidence in the vaccine after Russian President Vladimir Putin said last August 2020 that the vaccine had been approved despite limited data available. 

The Sputnik V vaccine would be relatively less tedious to deploy in the Philippines as it can be stored in standard 2 to 8 degree Celsius (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) refrigerator temperatures and does not require ultra cold storage conditions. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.