MANILA – Some 800 front-liners, senior citizens, and persons with comorbidities received the highly-anticipated first dose of Sputnik V vaccine in Makati City on Tuesday, marking the Russian-made jabs’ initial rollout in the Philippines.
Makati is among the five cities to receive 3,000 doses of Sputnik V for having the capacity to store the vials with a temperature not exceeding -18 degrees Celsius.
Among those who received the shot on Tuesday was senior citizen Dionito Perdillo.
The 65-year old driver said he is thankful to finally get a coronavirus jab — an extra layer of protection, as he described, after months into the pandemic.
“Ako kahit anong vaccine naman at hindi naman ako natakot kasi proteksyon ito. Ako talaga gusto ko nang mabakunahan rin kasi gusto ko ring makauwi sa Iloilo (Actually any vaccine will do, I’m not really scared because this is protection. I want to get vaccinated also so that I’ll be able to go home to Iloilo,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) before he received the vaccine.
Japanese Shigetaka Mishuku, 73, shares the same reason — to protect himself and those around him from the disease.
“Ayokong makakuha ng corona, so any brand basta effective (I don’t want to get the coronavirus, so any brand for me is ok as long as it’s effective). It’s for myself and for my family so that I won’t risk transmitting any virus and they won’t get it also,” he told reporters after getting the jab.
Mishuku, a Makati resident, is confident about the safety of the vaccine, saying authorities would not offer this if they found that it would compromise the health of the recipient.
“They tested it so I believe I have no problem… It is safe so I believe I have no problem at all,” he said, also urging other senior citizens to take their jabs to fast-track the country’s recovery.
“I think they should also get vaccinated, everybody should be vaccinated so that we can go back to normal life as soon as possible,” he said.
Makati Assistant Health Officer Dr. Roland Unson said Sputnik V has an above 90 percent efficacy against coronavirus disease 2019 and is safe for use.
“Ayon naman po sa Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration lahat naman po ng vaccines natin ay effective lalo na sa severe Covid-19 so kaysa walang bakuna, mas magandang magpabakuna na kahit anong brand (Our Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration said that all our vaccines are effective, particularly against severe Covid-19, so getting any brand will do because it’s better to have vaccine than none),” he told reporters.
More to arrive
National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 Deputy Chief Implementer and testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon said the recipient cities must administer the entire 15,000 doses that were delivered last May 1 as the second doses, which have yet to arrive, have a different property than the first.
Explaining its difference, Unson said two types of “vectors” were used in Sputnik V to elicit the production of antibodies, which target SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19.
“We have two types here, two different strains of vector that’s why the color of the vials are also different. I guess the first dose is all blue and the second dose has a red label,” he said.
Gamaleya Research Institute earlier said that Sputnik V only uses E1 and E3 type non-replicating adenoviral vectors, which are harmless for the human body.
Unson said it targets to vaccinate 800 people a day using the Russian jabs until supplies last.
In Makati alone, more than 35,000 people have so far been inoculated by different brands of vaccines.
Dizon, for his part, assured that the second Sputnik V doses are “guaranteed” to arrive within few weeks, accounting for about 485,000 vials.
While he admitted that there is indeed a scarcity in the global supply of coronavirus vaccines, he assured that the government continues to secure more shots, especially for those who need their second jabs.
“Once na dumating na ‘yong supply, magkakaroon na tayo ng buffer (Once the supply arrives this month, we’re going to have a bit of a buffer),” he said.
For May 2021 alone, he confirmed that the Philippine government has already “secured” some 4.5 million doses of vaccines.
“Secured na iyon, delivery nalang ang tanong doon kung kailan darating (That’s already secured, we’re just waiting for the exact dates of delivery,” he said. (PNA)