DFA: PH coordinating with international partners for COVID-19 vaccine

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The Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday the government already started coordinating with different international partners to ensure Filipinos would get access to a potential vaccine against COVID-19.

“Based on the gathered information by the department, collaboration with Philippine subsidiaries of vaccine developers, engagement with those overseas for conduct of clinical trials, utilization of multilateral efforts to ensure vaccine access, and bilateral cooperation are key efforts that must be pursued to ensure that a viable vaccine can be made available and accessible for Filipinos,” the DFA said in a statement.

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Through its Foreign Service posts, the DFA initiated communication with different researchers from the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on COVID-19 vaccine developments.

DFA said the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) chairs the Sub-Technical Working Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials, which handles the information on vaccine developments and potential international partners.

“The DFA stands ready to support and complement efforts of Philippine government agencies in response to the current pandemic and eventually secure a viable vaccine for COVID-19 for Filipinos in the soonest possible time,” the department said.

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BHW party-list Representative Natasha Co earlier recommended to include the COVID-19 national vaccination plan in the proposed P4.3 trillion national budget for 2021 amid the rising coronavirus infections in the country.
“This early, the national government must make the strategic decision of crafting a National Vaccination Plan. This plan must avoid everything that went wrong with dengue vaccination and other vaccination efforts that backfired because of wrong implementation on the ground, out in the field,” Co said.
“The vaccine for COVID-19 must be included in the basic mandatory vaccination programs. The budget for the COVID-19 national vaccination plan must be part of the 2021 national budget,” she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his recent report to Congress, said 361 patients from 26 hospitals nationwide are participating in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) solidarity trial to find treatment for the new coronavirus disease.

The government allocated P29.99 million for the one-year project, which would involve 500 patients in the Philippines.

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