Vaccine-mixing is now out of the question for Puerto Princesa’s Sputnik V first dose recipients after the National Task Force (NTF) clarified in an advisory dated August 15 that it is not allowed under any circumstance.
City Health Officer (CHO) Dr. Ric Panganiban said in an interview Thursday that the final directive for Puerto Princesa will be to wait for the national government to send its allocation of Component II (second dose) Sputnik V vaccines.
“Sumusunod lang tayo [sa national government]. Talagang antay muna talaga,” said Panganiban.
The advisory by the NTF stated that there is evidence to support the mixing of Gamaleya Sputnik V vaccines with other vaccines, according to the Department of Health (DOH) All Expert Group (AEG). Hence, using a different brand of vaccine for Sputnik V is not allowed, the advisory added.
First-dose recipients in Puerto Princesa have been waiting for their second dose since late June. Despite the maximum 90-day interval for the second dose, worries of never receiving their second dose of the same brand have been mounting. Delays have been attributed to the Russian manufacturer’s slow delivery due to worldwide demand.
There are currently more than 5,000 first-dose recipients of Sputnik V in Puerto Princesa City, according to City CoVac data, who have yet to receive their second dose. Panganiban stated that there are too few supplies arriving in the country and that the city government has to compete with the allocation of other local governments.
“Hindi lang kasi Puerto Princesa ang nangangailangan. Kung dito 5,000 pa lang, ang laki na noon. Paano na lang ang iba, madami sila,” he added.
Around 15,000 doses of Sputnik V Component II vaccines arrived on Friday, August 13, as promised by National Task Force (NTF) chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. However, Puerto Princesa has yet to receive its allocation. Galvez also stated previously that in case of delays or supply shortage, AstraZeneca will be used for the second dose. The measure has raised questions of safety and legality.
The city government has also taken measures to secure second doses in other vaccine brands by only consuming half of the stock of vaccines and setting aside the other half for the second dose.