Taking a cue from other countries that have sought to hasten the availability of potential cures to the pandemic, President Duterte has allowed the director general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue an emergency use authorization for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
The authority, contained in Executive Order 121, permits the use of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines pending approval by health authorities, provided that there is credible data suggesting that the drug or immunization can stop, diagnose or treat the virus.
National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. yesterday said COVID-19 vaccines might arrive in the Philippines as early as the first quarter of next year.
“We are still on track, considering that there is a possibility that our best-case scenario will be shifted to the first quarter. Our best-case scenario that we have presented is more or less May, but for now, if we will succeed in negotiating with two to three vaccines from different countries, we might be able to get it during the first quarter,” Galvez said at a televised press briefing.
He disclosed that the Philippines is also negotiating with Chinese firms Sinovac and Sinopharm for the possible purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, which may be available in the first quarter.
The government is also holding talks with US vaccine manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax; the Serum Institute of India and United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca, according to Galvez.
“We are looking forward to having at least 10 to 15 or even 20 million vaccine (doses from) each of these vaccine makers,” he said.
Duterte said the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the practice of issuing an emergency use authorization while there are no approved alternatives.
“To strengthen their own interventions against COVID-19, other countries such as Australia, China and the United States of America adopted, and the WHO recognized, the regulatory practice of issuing an emergency use authorization to hasten the availability and use of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, particularly those supported by strong evidence that patients have benefited therefrom, in the absence of available approved and adequate alternatives,” the President stated in the order.
“It is a priority of the state to ensure that the lives of the Filipino people, especially the underprivileged, poor and marginalized, our front liners, healthcare providers, police officers and soldiers and those in the essential services shall be protected from COVID-19 by ensuring accessibility and adequacy of supply of related drugs and vaccines,” he added.
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