The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday said COVID-19 vaccines may possibly become commercially available in the Philippines by next year, following the full approval of the Pfizer jab in the United States.
Asked by GMA News Online when can the public expect vaccines to become commercially available, FDA chief Eric Domingo said: “Possibly early 2022.”
Earlier this week, the US FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, making it the first COVID-19 shot to receive such approval.
In the Philippines, however, the full approval of the Pfizer jab will depend on the American drugmaker’s submission of an application for a certificate of product registration or market authorization.
“Wala pa (None yet),” Domingo said when asked whether the FDA has received word that Pfizer is interested in seeking full approval soon. “But we already sent them the requirements and process for COVID-19 vaccine registration.”
In May, Domingo said an application for full approval would likely be filed in late 2021 at the earliest.
“Maaari na po siyang ibenta hindi lamang sa gobyerno katulad ngayon, kundi [pati] sa mga ospital, sa mga clinic, sa mga pharmacy, maaari na rin pong i-distribute ‘yan,” Domingo also told Super Radyo dzBB in a previous interview.
(The vaccine can then be sold not just to the government but also to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies.)
The FDA chief said Pfizer will likely begin to seek full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine in other countries.
“So ‘yun pong mga EUA natin, after one year ‘yan, mag-e-expire na po lahat ‘yan at ang maaari na lamang gamitin ay mga fully approved product (So our EUAs will expire after one year. After that, only fully approved products can be used),” he said.
The Philippines has fully inoculated 12.87 million individuals as of August 18, still far from the government’s target of vaccinating over 70 million people. — Julia Mari Ornedo/RSJ, GMA News