Senior citizen and retired OFW nurse Cecilia M. De Castro receives her first dose of Moderna vaccine at the Nayong Pilipino Foundation ICTSI Solaire drive-thru vaccination facility in Parañaque City on Saturday (Aug. 28, 2021). (MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 28 (Mabuhay) —

A feasibility study on the local production of vaccines, including COVID-19 jabs, may possibly be completed by November this year, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH and other government agencies have been working with the Asian Development Bank for the vaccine self-reliance project of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

“Months ago pa po ito inumpisahan kung saan nagkakaroon na tayo ng feasibility study sa ngayon (We started this feasibility study months ago) and, apparently, it’s going to be finished I think, by November of this year,” she said in a briefing.

Vergeire said the government is also holding parallel discussions with foreign vaccine manufacturers and local partners.

“Hopefully ‘pag natapos po ‘yung (Hopefully when they complete the) feasibility study, we can already start doing the other things so that we can set it up by next year,” she said.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) earlier said local vaccine manufacturing is possible by the end of 2022 since many firms have expressed interest.

The DOST said at least four companies were interested in producing COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez also said American firm Novavax wants to set up a vaccine manufacturing plant in Pampanga.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. previously said the RITM laid out a three-year program for the expansion of its vaccine research and development. (MNS)

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