MANILA, Sept 22 (Mabuhay) — The purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by the Philippine government may only begin in the second quarter of 2021 as foreign manufacturers continue development and trials to ensure their safety and efficacy, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
“We need to ensure that all of these vaccines are safe and they are efficacious before we allow it to be sold or procured by the government,” Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said.
Scientists and medical experts around the world have been working double time to develop a vaccine to end the pandemic, with a promising few entering clinical trials.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he would give preference to the vaccines being developed by Russia and China because other countries are asking for advance payment.
“That’s the one thing that’s wrong with Western companies. Kaya sabi ko we will give preference to Russia and China provided that their vaccine is as good as any other in the market,” Duterte had said.
Russia had said it is open to the possibility of producing locally the anti-COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V for the Philippines.
The country is participating in the phase 3 clinical trials for Sputnik V.
Given the country’s scarce funds, President Rodrigo Duterte also said the government will buy the cheapest COVID-19 vaccine that will be available in the market, saying all vaccines have the same effect.
“It’s there. I think it’s Moderna, it is a US company, I think they are ready by September. . . . Sinovac, China is also ready,” he earlier said.
“Kung sino magbigay ng mura dun tayo pupunta. We know we don’t have much money, kung mahal masyado, we will go for the less expensive ones,” Duterte added.(MNS)