The Philippine government is unlikely to approve COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use if they are locally tested, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said on Tuesday.
“Maybe it’s the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can decide on that … I doubt whether we will follow the emergency approvals [granted overseas] if the trials were not done here,” he told a news briefing.
The DOST chief is responding to the announcement of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. that it would seek emergency use authorization from the US FDA for its COVID-19 vaccine developed with German drugmaker BioNTech.
“First, if [Pfizer] will conduct clinical trials here, the data gathered will pass through our vaccine expert panel, and it will be verified by it. Because the 90 percent that they announced, they were the ones that did the announcement. We don’t know the details yet. We don’t know the data supporting it. If there are clinical trials here, we can verify it,” DOST Secretary said.
DOST: PH unlikely to approve vaccines if not locally tested
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, it is possible to approve it immediately for “emergency use in the Philippines.”
“Kapag na-approve na ng US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), European FDA, it is almost… it will not take time to approve the emergency use of this vaccine,” said Roque.
“But it is not automatic, kailangan pa rin ng some review iyan,” he added.
The Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez also confirmed that the Pfizer vaccine is the leading vaccine developed in America.
He also said that the country has been in contact with the pharmaceutical company for a long time to ensure vaccine supply.
“Ang Pfizer ang nangunguna diyan dahil mayroon silang country manager diyan na kausap ko lagi sa telepono, na sila nagfo-follow-up sa FDA natin. At once approved na tayo ng FDA then prepare na iyong supply for us,” said Romualdez.