Duterte wants COVID-19 vaccination drive earlier than 2Q of 2021
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants the government’s vaccination program against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to kick off earlier than the projected second quarter of 2021, Malacañang said Wednesday
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this as he asked Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo during a televised press briefing if it is possible for the Philippines to use the coronavirus vaccine earlier now that Duterte has already allowed the emergency use of the vaccines in the country.
This follows the approval of the United Kingdom to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for mass use.
“Sa bilis po ng approval ng Pfizer, pupwede ba ho na dito sa Pilipinas it could be earlier than second quarter dahil narinig ko po personal ang Presidente nagsabi ‘dapat mas maaga than second quarter’.”
“Ano pong possibility na mas maaga pa ang bakuna. Not just in the 2nd quarter but possibly in the first quarter of 2021,” Roque asked Domingo.
Domingo replied that with Duterte’s executive order allowing the FDA to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) to expected COVID-19 vaccines, it is possible that the country may use a coronavirus vaccine by March 2021.
He explained that the EUA will shorten the processing period for approving COVID-19 vaccines from six months to 21 – 28 days.
The FDA chief said the candidate vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna of the United State, as well as Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm of China may apply for EUA in the country after they secure their respective EUA from their home countries.
The Philippine government and private companies signed a supply agreement with British drugmaker AstraZeneca involving 2.6 million doses of its vaccine last week.
Aside from AstraZeneca, the government is also eyeing vaccines from Pfizer, Sinovac, and Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.