The government will still subject the Russia-made vaccine against COVID-19 to regulatory procedures before clearing it for clinical trials even amid President Rodrigo Duterte's apparent interest in participating in it, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
“Just like any product, any other new technology katulad ng bakuna, idadaan natin ‘yan sa regulatory procedures. Alam naman ‘yan ni Presidente,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Vergeire said this when asked by reporters if the President’s statement puts pressure on the DOH to approve Sputnik V, Russia's anti-COVID-19 vaccine.
Duterte has accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to provide the country with a vaccine against COVID-19, even offering himself as participant during clinical trials.
Vergeire said approval from the Food and Drug administration and the Ethics Board is needed before clinical trials of a new vaccine can proceed in the Philippines.
“Even though dumaan na ‘yan sa mga regulatory procedures sa Russia, pagdating niyan sa Pilipinas, dadaan pa rin yan sa ating regulatory procedure,” she said.
Vergeire said pending such approval for clinical trials, participants cannot be determined yet.
“We cannot really say kung sino [ang participants] at kung gaano kadami ang sasali,” she said.
“Hindi pa kasi alam kung ilan ang mapo-provide ng manufacturers.”
Both Vergeire and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III have said that Sputnik V, which has not been cleared by the World Health Organization, needs further study.
The Philippines has recorded 139,538 COVID-19 cases so far. Of this number, 68,432 recovered while 2,312 died. The number of active COVID-19 cases is at 68,794. —KBK, GMA News