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5 COVID-19 vaccine makers eyeing clinical trials in Philippines

Five potential vaccines against COVID-19 have already been submitted for possible clinical trials in the Philippines.

According to Dr. Jaime Montoya of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Friday, these vaccines are:

  • Sinovac from China
  • Janssen
  • Sputnik V from Russia
  • Clover Biopharmaceuticals
  • AstraZeneca

In order for a potential vaccine to conduct clinical trials in the country, it has to secure clearance from a panel of vaccine experts under DOST.

Once it is cleared by the DOST panel, it would also need approval from the Ethics Board and the Food and Drug Administration.

According to FDA Director General and Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, only Sinovac has been cleared so far by the vaccine expert panel.

“Ito ay ini-evaluate natin ngayon at mukhang kaunting panahon na lang naman siguro at may ibang requirement na lang ang hinihingi natin para ma-approve natin ang clinical trial na 'to,” he said at a public briefing on Thursday.

The Philippines' COVID-19 task force has formed a body that will handle the procurement, supply chain and logistics management, as well as distribution of vaccines especially to priority recipients.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Cluster is under Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the government's pandemic response.

The government has earmarked P2.5 billion for COVID-19 vaccine procurement under the proposed 2021 national budget.

A recent Social Weather Stations survey shows that 66% of Filipinos are willing to get COVID-19 vaccine if it is available now. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government is eyeing to give COVID-19 vaccine to around 50 million or 50% of the population on an initial basis.

She, however, conceded that the logistical cost of delivering the vaccine across the country could be more expensive than the vaccine itself, especially if the vaccine requires ultra-low freezer storage.  —KBK, GMA News