DOH: Funds set aside for new COVID-19 vaccines effective vs. variantsBy JOAHNA LEI CASILAO,GMA News
The Department of Health has allocated funds for new COVID-19 vaccines believed to be more effective against the virus, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday.
Vergeire said the bivalent and multivalent vaccines being developed sought to address the mutations of the newer COVID-19 variants.
“We already have discussed this and we have reserved some budget for us to procure these kinds of vaccines if and when lumabas na siya para sa entire population,” Vergeire said in a media briefing.
The highly transmissible Omicron variant is said to have around 50 mutations overall, with at least 30 mutations in the spike protein, the focus of most vaccines as it is what enables the virus to enter cells.
“Ngayon ang pangako, no, at saka ang sinasabi nilang maganda dito sa makabagong bakunang ilalabas, ito po can cover these mutations and can specifically address these mutations, kaya mas magiging mas mabisa siya kaysa sa current vaccines na mayroon tayo,” Vergeire said.
(Now the promise, and what they are saying is good about these vaccines, is it can cover these mutations and can specifically address these mutations, so it will be more effective compared to the current vaccines.)
Vergeire said the manufacturer of the vaccines said these might be released by October.
However, she said that certain processes in the country must be followed.
“Unang-una, kailangan niyan mag apply ng EUA sa atin. Kailangan pag aralan rin maigi ng ating mga eskperto ‘yan,” Vergeire said.
(First of all, they need to apply for an EUA. Our experts need to study this.)
In a radio interview, Vaccine Expert Panel chairperson Nina Gloriani expressed concern with the possible delay as new variants may replace Omicron.
“Hinahabol natin ‘yung mga variants with these vaccines. Papaano kung by October, November, December ay wala na ulit si BA.4, [BA].5 at meron iba pumalit. Hopefully, wala na. Sana wala na. Pero mahirap ibase ‘yung papalit-palit na ganitong mga bakuna ‘yung ating mga gagamitin,” she said.
(We are chasing after the variants with these vaccines. What if the BA.4 and the BA.5 are gone by October, November, and December and it has been replaced? Hopefully, not. But it will be difficult to use these specific vaccines.)
Gloriani said the new vaccines would be used as booster doses. —NB, GMA News