COVID-19 vaccines on equal footing once approved for emergency use: DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2021 11:22 AM | Updated as of Jan 12 2021 12:03 PM

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MANILA — The Department of Health on Tuesday emphasized that the published efficacy rate of COVID-19 vaccines should no longer be an issue once they are given emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Pag lumabas sa FDA with EUA we are assuring you na ligtas 'yan at ito ay epektibo sa inyo. Hindi kailangan mamili,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during ABS-CBN Teleradyo’s On the Spot program.

(If the FDA releases the EUA, we are assuring you that it is safe and effective. There is no need to choose.)

An EUA allows vaccines undergoing clinical trials to be used by a country on a limited basis. Instead of undergoing the 6-month approval period of the FDA, a vaccine developer applying for EUA might get approval in just 21 days.

Vergeire said people should remember that the COVID-19 vaccine that the government will give will protect Filipinos.

The health official said this after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque received flak for saying that recipients of the government’s immunization program should not be “pihikan” or choosy.

Vergeire said Filipinos prioritized for vaccination will be informed of the brand of vaccine they will be receiving.

“Pantay pantay na po 'yan pag dumaan sa FDA. Pare-pareho pong ligtas at pare-parehong efficacious,” she said.

(All vaccines will be on equal footing once they go through the FDA. It means they are all safe and all efficacious.)

“So pag dumating po ang bakuna hindi pwedeng sabihin ng isang health care worker na ayoko n'yan. If he does that - dahil may informed consent naman - hindi pipilitin pero they would have to go to the bottom (end) of the line.”

(Once the vaccine arrives, a health worker cannot say they don’t want a particular brand. If he does that - as part of informed consent - we won’t force him but he will have to go to the end of the line.)

Vergeire assured the public that the developmental vaccines will go through the government’s “stringent regulatory process.”