DOST: COVID-19 vaccine available in PH by mid-2021

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The coronavirus vaccine will be available to the public in the first months of 2021, according to the secretary of the Department of Science and Technology ().

In the virtual forum, DOST Sec. Fortunato dela Peña that the manufacture and the clinical trial process of the foreign vaccine will take longer.

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“We still are looking at the end of trials in the second quarter of 2021. And between the end of trials, to the FDA’s approval for application, for use, and the actual vaccination, mass vaccination, it will still take some time. Our original estimate of mid-2021 is still the most optimistic,” said Dela Peña.

“Mid-2021 is optimistic. I suspect we’ll have to live with our current normal for the full of 2021. And the government does have to prioritize. Kanino unang bibigyan ng bakuna,” added Dr. Beaver Tamesis, president of the Philippines’ Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association.

But according to some pharmaceutical companies, it is said to be faster compared to the standard production of vaccines for other diseases that take several years.

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The clinical trial of selected individuals in the country will begin in December 2020 after the World Health Organization postponed the solidarity vaccine trial in the Philippines for a month.

Two pharmaceutical companies have bilateral collaboration with the Philippine government — China’s Sinovac and Russia’s Gamaleya.

Johnson & Johnson also expressed interest in having a phase 3 clinical trial here.

DOST: available in PH by mid-2021

Twelve hospitals in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Cebu, and Davao have been identified for trial use.

Sinovac is interested in giving the vaccine to seniors.

It will be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte announced in August that he was ready to volunteer to be vaccinated.

Vaccine makers also include Merck & Co. But they are still in stage 1, while Sanofi Pasteur is in stage 2.

It will be recalled that Sanofi became controversial in 2017 due to the dengvaxia vaccine, which is why some parents are afraid to vaccinate their child even with other diseases such as polio.

“In the meantime, you have two things to do. First, to educate. Start educating people; start informing people. Start preventing misinformation and disinformation on this vaccine,” said Dr. Jean-Antoine Zinsou, general manager of Sanofi.

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