WHO, drug firms to cover costs for side effects in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials— official

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2021 01:55 PM | Updated as of Feb 22 2021 08:31 AM

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken Oct. 30, 2020. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/File

MANILA— The World Health Organization and vaccine firms will cover medical expenses in case some volunteers to their respective clinical trials experience side effects from COVID-19 jabs, a Department of Science and Technology official said Saturday. 

In a public press briefing, DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevarra said the WHO will cover treatment of those who participate in solidarity trials and experience adverse reactions, while vaccine developers will shoulder the costs for those who participate in independent clinical trials and show side effects. 

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"Dito sa... independent clinical trials ang sasagot ay vaccine developer na company, sa WHO [solidarity trials] sasagot ang WHO, mayroon silang global insurance na bibilhin [para] sa mga volunteers at mga nasa trial list," Guevarra said. 

(For independent clinical trials, vaccine developers will shoulder costs. WHO will shoulder the costs for participants in solidarity trials, as they have bought global insurance for volunteers and those on the trial list.) 

The DOST on Friday said Janssen Pharmaceuticals started its clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine in the country. In the same briefing, the DOST said WHO was considering selecting 3 COVID-19 vaccines for its solidarity trials, which have been in discussions since last year. 

Preparations for the vaccine trials of Clover and Sinovac are ongoing. 

In case patients experience adverse effects, vaccine firms will be filing reports to the Food and Drug Administration, who in turn will analyze the information to know the cause of the side effects. 

"Kapag nagkaroon ng adverse effect, mag-submit 'yan ng protocol. Ire-report nila 'yan sa Food and Drug Administration ng Philippines at ia-analyze at ire-report 'yan tapos dito sa PH pag may nangyaring ganiyan 'yung pagho-hospitalize sakaling magka-adverse effect, sagot 'yan ng kompanyang magko-conduct ng clinical trial," Guevarra said.

(When a patient experiences adverse effects, they will submit protocols. They will report this to the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines. And when it happens here, the hospitalization in case someone experiences adverse effects, it will be shouldered by the company conducting clinical trials.) 

The Philippines is aiming to inoculate 70 million of its population, hoping to buy 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from various drug makers. No single vial has arrived in the Philippines yet despite earlier pronouncements of COVID-19 response officials that the jabs may arrive this month.

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