Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta on Monday said that the Philippines was in advanced talks with Russia for Covid-19 vaccines and was only awaiting technical data for a deal to be finalized.
“Mayroong very advanced… discussions natin on a technical level with Russia. And right now, hinihintay lang natin ang additional information, technical data na hiningi ng Philippines,” he said in a Palace briefing.
“At kapag nakuha na iyon, I think that’s the final step for our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to make a decision,” he added.
The maker of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, Russian firm Gamaleya Research Institute, has a pending application for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its vaccine in the Philippines.
Sputnik V was the vaccine first touted by President Rodrigo Duterte when he first volunteered for public vaccination last year.
Sorreta said he was hoping for a deal to happen soon as the Russian drug manufacturer only produces vaccines when it receives orders.
He added that there were also discussions between the Philippines and Russia’s private sectors.
“I think if we are willing to, and I have no doubt that we are able to – we have the capability, we have the great people and expertise [to procure Russian vaccines],” he said.
“Pero ang priority ngayon ay iyong obtaining supplies from the Russian side, and it’s important to be able to put our order soon kasi ginagawa iyong pagdating ng order eh. So hopefully, it will happen soon enough,” he added.
Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev in August last year declared that Russia was “ready to supply vaccines to the Philippines” and was willing to invest in local production of the vaccines.
To date, only Pfizer-BioNTech, Astrazeneca and Sinovac vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the country. John Ezekiel J. Hirro