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WHO urges Philippines to improve capacity for vaccine regulation, production

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday urged the Philippine government to improve the country’s capacity for vaccine regulation and development as experts across the globe race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019.

WHO acting country representative Dr. Socorro Escalante said the Philippines must begin preparing its regulatory processes for vaccines as early as now while six candidate vaccines are being studied in different countries.

“For the meantime, we would encourage the country to prepare its regulatory processes in terms of assessment and evaluation of the vaccine para mapabilis ‘yung pag-receive natin, pag-register natin ng bakuna,” she said at a virtual press briefing.

Escalante also said the government must begin crafting its vaccine strategy, with priority given to the vulnerable population such as healthcare workers and people with comorbidities.

The Philippines must also improve its technology for the development of vaccines, she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier offered a P50-million reward to any Filipino who will discover a vaccine for COVID-19. 

“The Philippines has really experts and scientists that are world-class and we also have institutions to be able to undertake research and development, but the technology has to be really adapted for vaccine development,” Escalante said.

“It is very encouraged, particularly in the context of all these pandemics, na magkaroon tayo ng security for medical countermeasures,” she added.

The Philippines has recorded 7,777 COVID-19 cases with 862 recoveries and 511 deaths as of Monday. —LDF, GMA News