The Department of Science and Technology yesterday said that a COVID-19 vaccine could become available in the Philippines by July 2021.
The Duterte government is currently testing up to five candidate vaccines as one of the member countries taking part in the World Health Organization’s solidarity trials, Science Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra told news program TV Patrol. As many as 200,000 patients in the Philippines are participating in the said trials.
“We are testing a lot of vaccines. We want to know which one is effective and efficacious for Filipinos,” she said.
However, she said that not everyone will be given the vaccine immediately after it becomes available.
“Our priority really is our frontliners. They’re the first to get it then our indigent seniors,” she said.
In a speech a few days ago, President Rodrigo Duterte said that a China-made vaccine would become available sometime in December and that members of the police and the military would be among its first recipients. The pronouncement was met with some skepticism, especially from Filipinos wary of using China-made immunization.
However, Guevarra assured the public that candidate vaccines are being assessed by Filipino doctors who hold the highest standards. These medical professionals are currently working at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of the Philippines-Manila, and the Philippine General Hospital.
“They are researching on all vaccine developments. They are looking for what is best for us. This expert panel would be able to advise us on which vaccines we should pursue. Whatever other people may say, we have to believe our own scientists,” she said.
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