Palace on Russia virus vaccine: Good news but has to go through local process
MANILA, Philippines — While Russia’s development of a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is welcome news, the vaccine still has to go through a regulatory process in the Philippines before it can be utilized for mass inoculation, Malacañang said Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier announced Moscow has approved and registered a vaccine for COVID-19, which has now infected more than 20 million people and killed more than 738,000 globally.
According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the vaccine, which was developed in record time and has allegedly skipped a critical stage of its clinical trials, will have to go through studies of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“The good news is the Russians have declared that they have the vaccine. Whether or not we could actually use it depends on the compliance on our existing laws because we have a statute that penalizes the use of any drug without prior approval of the FDA,” Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.
He added that immediate massive use of the vaccine in the Philippines is unlikely but the FDA may certify it for “compassionate use” but only on a limited basis.
While some, including President Rodrigo Duterte, is upbeat about the Russian vaccine, some believe that the lack of availability of data of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund throws many questions about its safety and efficacy.
Duterte, in a speech aired Monday night, even volunteered himself to be the first one to be “experimented” on using the vaccine.
Russia’s vaccine was reportedly scheduled to start Phase 3 of its clinical trial this month. This is the stage where thousands of patients have to be vaccinated to test its safety and efficacy.
But Putin assured that the vaccine is safe and that one of his own daughters was injected with it.
Despite safety concerns, at least 20 countries reportedly requested doses of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine — a reference to the surprise 1957 launch of the world’s first satellite by the former Soviet Union.
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