PH may begin producing COVID-19 vaccine by late 2022 — DOST
MANILA, Philippines — The country may begin producing COVID-19 vaccines by late 2022 through the private sector, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Thursday.
DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara said the national government is currently in talks with six potential local vaccine manufacturers, two of which have been “aggressive” in planning for the local production of coronavirus vaccines.
“Meron kaming nakikita na dalawang companies na medyo mabilis, agresibo sila. If they pursue what we think are their plans based on what they have told us, parang kakayanin nilang magproduce ng vaccine by late 2022,” she said in an online media forum.
(We noticed that two companies are fast and aggressive in planning. If they pursue what we think are their plans based on what they have told us, they may be able to produce vaccines by late 2022.)
However, some of the six companies are eyeing to first produce vaccines that are already “well-established” and are being used in the country’s national immunization program, according to the DOST official.
“Kapag stable na or tapos na ‘yung clinical trials ng COVID-19 vaccines tsaka sila papasok sa COVID-19 vaccine. ‘Yung iba namang companies, COVID-19 talaga ang kanilang pupuntiryahin,” Guevara added.
(Once the clinical trials are stable for COVID-19 vaccines, that’s when they will start producing these vaccines. But other companies are targeting to produce vaccines against COVID-19.)
There is currently no local vaccine manufacturer in the Philippines. The vaccines being used in the government’s immunization programs are only being imported from other countries, said Guevara.
She added that the six companies are local pharmaceutical firms that are trying to produce vaccines as their new product. However, she refused to identify these companies, citing confidentiality as talks are still ongoing.
According to Guevara, the country needs to have local vaccine production to sustain the government’s needs for immunization programs, provide adequate vaccine doses for potential annual COVID-19 vaccination, and prepare for the next pandemic.
As of April 13, the country has already secured 3,025,600 COVID-19 vaccine doses that were developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech and British-Swede drugmaker AstraZeneca. A total of 1,255,716 doses have been so far been administered.
In June, a shipment of some 20-million doses of coronavirus vaccine procured from US biotech firm Moderna is expected to arrive, according to tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., who led the private sector-led initiative.
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