According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the COVID-19 vaccine procurement process will not change just because Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. was appointed as “vaccine czar.”
“The procedure and processes in place would still be followed. More importantly, we will still implement our regulatory process to ensure that these vaccines would be safe and efficacious,” Vergeire said.
“We will not rush. We know that this is urgent, but all of these [vaccines] will still undergo the regulatory process to make sure these are safe and would give the desired effect to our population,” she added.
The DOH official said that Galvez has no background in public health but noted that the vaccine czar would not be alone in implementing the COVID-19 vaccine program. Vergeire said experts from the DOH and the Department of Science and Technology would guide Galvez.
“This would be a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. We will help and support him,” Vergeire said.
DOH: No rush to buy COVID-19 vaccines
“No processes will be changed. He may just add a more expeditious process to speed it up … He was appointed [to his post] to ensure we would have an expeditious and more efficient manner of doing all of these things that we need for the vaccines to be brought here,” she added.
Galvez earlier said that according to the government’s seven-point COVID-19 immunization plan, evaluation and acquisition of a possible vaccine must be complete by the end of 2020. However, the clinical trials in the country are not expected to be conducted till December.
Vergeire said that the government was studying two mechanisms concerning vaccine purchases. One is through clinical trials and the other, through direct procurement with the vaccine manufacturer.
As of November 4, the Department of Health has recorded 987 additional cases of COVID-19. Meanwhile, 140 were recovered, and 49 died.
Of the total number of cases recorded in the country, 8.2% (31,679) were active cases, 89.9% (349,091) were cured, and 1.90% (7,367) died.