Manila: The Philippines’ purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines can only be made starting the second quarter of 2021 as delays hit the review of possible candidates, an official said.
This is a “practical and realistic timeline” as vaccines will go through registration then clinical trials for a number of months, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says in a virtual briefing. The nation’s Food and Drug Administration has committed to cut the approval process by almost two weeks, she said.
The government is still waiting for Russia’s Sputnik V clinical trial data for review, while the trial for potential Covid treatment Avigan, previously set to start Aug. 17, is also pending approval.
The Philippines has seen a resurgence in new infections, topping 3,000 in the past two weeks. It has 286,743 cases as of Sunday, the most in Southeast Asia.
President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed 1,500 health workers with contracts as of August 31 to leave for jobs abroad, spokesman Harry Roque said at a separate briefing. In April, the Philippines banned doctors and nurses from leaving for overseas work to boost its health workforce. – Bloomberg