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WHO solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccines may start last week of October —DOH

The World Health Organization's (WHO) solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccines may start in the Philippines by the end of October, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.

The identification of specific COVID-19 vaccine brands to be used would happen in the third or fourth week of September.

"Sa ngayon kasi may pinagpipilian sila na listahan which is about 34 na mga bakuna... Of course they would be reducing these. Kung ano lang ang karapat-dapat, 'yun lang ang isasama nila," Vergeire told reporters in an online forum.

By the end of September, trial sites would be identified, she said.

Vergeire said health authorities will first coordinate with local government leaders and stakeholders to inform them of the advantages and risks of the  vaccine trial.

"Alam natin this is voluntary so kailangan may mga informed consent din tayong kukunin. If they would be refusing. So 'yun ang ating pag-usapan with the Department of the Interior and Local Government," she added.

By the third week of October, the initial roll-out of the WHO solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccines may start in selected areas.

"Mag-uumpisa sa pilot sites tapos all sites that were identified already, isasama na [by fourth week of October]," Vergeire said.

The DOH said this timeline is still subject to change, considering other factors that may intervene along the way. WHO  will primarily determine adjustments and changes, it said.

Meanwhile, the Philippines' vaccine expert panel has already reviewed and commented on the documents submitted by the Gamaleya Institute, which developed Russia's COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

"Ipinasa na natin sa kanila ang ating mga komento. So we are just awaiting for their response doon sa mga komento ng ating vaccine expert panel," Vergeire said.

Negotiations with other countries for the COVID-19 vaccines are still ongoing, she added.

During the same briefing, Vergeire denied that US manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccine asked for the pardon of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton in exchange for access to their products. KBK, GMA News