Philippines should build own vaccine factories, says lawmaker

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2020 10:03 AM

A boy gets vaccinated against diptheria and measles at the Pasig City Elementary school on July 16, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/file photo

MANILA - The Philippines should put up its own vaccine factories to keep the country safe from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and other vaccine-preventable diseases, Sen. Richard Gordon said Tuesday.

Unlike neighboring countries Thailand and Vietnam, the Philippines does not have its own vaccine factories, Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine Red Cross, said in a statement.

"Dapat may vaccine factory dito, hindi lang para sa COVID kundi para na din sa iba pang mga sakit," he said.

(We should have vaccine factories not just for COVID but for other diseases.)

"A disruption in the provision of immunization services increases the number of susceptible individuals in the community," he said, noting that measles and polio - which can both be prevented by vaccines - have sickened Filipino children over the years.

Last year, polio re-emerged in the Philippines after nearly 2 decades with 17 confirmed cases.

The 2019 measles outbreak in the country was estimated to be 130 percent higher than the number of cases in 2018.