COVID-19 vaccine likely available in PH 'en masse' by 2nd quarter 2021- DOST

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2020 11:46 AM

MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Wednesday that the Philippines is most likely to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine for public distribution by the second quarter of 2021.

“If we are talking about availability en masse, we believe this is going to be happening in the 2nd quarter of next year,” said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra during a virtual briefing. “Clinical trials will start in the 4th quarter of this year.”

Guevarra, DOST’s undersecretary for research and development and the chair of the country’s sub-technical working group on vaccines for COVID-19, later told ABS-CBN News in a text message that she was referring to several vaccines, particularly the ones from Russia, China’s Sinovac and those that will be included in the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial for vaccines.

“We will have several vaccines, since no single vaccine will work for all of us,” she said. 

Experts earlier said that the COVID-19 vaccine won’t have 100% efficacy.

But Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DOST’s Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), said that they estimate that vaccine developer frontrunners would be able to submit their studies to the Philippines by April. 

“Second quarter dadalhin 'yan (vaccine applications) sa Pilipinas sa FDA (Food and Drug Adminstration). Mga isang buwan 'yan na pag-aaralan sa FDA. At siguro by the end of the 2nd quarter by May or June puwedeng lumabas na 'yung approval ng FDA natin, which means puwede na siyang ipagbili o puwede nang gamitin ng mga Pilipino,” Montoya said.

(By the second quarter the vaccine applications will be submitted to the Philippines’ FDA. it will take FDA one month to study that. And maybe by the end of the 2nd quarter, by May or June, the FDA approval would be released, which means the vaccine can then be sold or used by Filipinos.

Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the expert panel of COVID-19 vaccines for the Philippines, said among the vaccine developers they are in talks with are Sinovac and Sinopharm from China, the University of Oxford from the United Kingdom, and Moderna and Pfizer from the United States. All are considered frontrunners in COVID-19 vaccine development and are undergoing Phase 3 human clinical trials.

Gloriani said they do not have any new updates on the Sputnik V vaccine being developed by Russia as they have yet to receive the complete “dossier” of the drug, which they would need to study first before approving clinical trials in the country.

Government earlier said the Philippines and Russia would run simultaneous Phase 3 clinical trials for the drug.