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Philippines approves emergency use of Sputnik Light vaccine

The Philippines has approved the emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik Light COVID-19 vaccine, the country’s vaccine procurement chief said on Monday, making it among the first countries in Asia to approve the single-dose vaccine.

The approval by the Philippines’ food and drug agency will allow the country to follow up its order for 10 million doses, Carlito Galvez, a retired general who handles the government’s vaccine procurement, told a news conference, reports Reuters.

The government expects vaccine manufacturers to increase deliveries in September and October, Galvez said.

Mongolia and Kazakhstan have approved Sputnik Light, developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

Sputnik Light is ninth COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Philippines, along with vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm.

Philippine authorities have said the vaccine rollout is key to the recovery of the Southeast Asian country’s economy. The Philippines was one of the fastest growing economies in Asia before the pandemic, but contracted by a record 9.6% in 2020.

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 17.26 million people, leaving much of its 110 million population vulnerable to the highly contagious Delta variant.