COVID-free Christmas still possible, Palace says
MANILA, Philippines — A Christmas season free of the scourge of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains a possibility this year, Malacañang said Thursday as it admitted that there are other vaccines currently being developed elsewhere in the world that are ahead of Russia’s Sputnik-V.
“Pwede po (ang COVID-19-free Christmas) dahil ang alam ko po ‘yung sa Tsina, sa Oxford at sa Amerika nasa 3rd Phase na po sila ng clinical trial,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier announced Moscow has approved and registered a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease that has already infected over 20 million people worldwide.
President Duterte expressed confidence on the effectiveness of Russia’s vaccine, which he said will be ready by December, when “the Philippines will be free of COVID-19 and will be able to enjoy a peaceful Christmas.”
However, Russia’s vaccine is expected to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for public use by April 2021, four months short of Duterte’s projection.
The Philippines is set to conduct Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
During Phase 3 of the clinical trials, tens of thousands of patients will have to be vaccinated to test its safety and efficacy.
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