MANILA — The Philippines has not yet approved any clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, the country's health department said Wednesday.
“As of this week, wala pa tayong naaprubahan na clinical trial for any vaccine for COVID-19 dito sa ating country,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
(As of this week we have not yet approved any clinical trial for any COVID-19 vaccine here in the country.)
She said the negotiations with vaccine manufacturers and countries “committed to help the Philippines” are still ongoing.
This includes the Sputnik vaccine from Russia. Vergeire said the results of its Phase II trials are sill being studied by the government’s expert panel.
The Philippines' neighbor, Indonesia, has signed a deal with China’s Sinovac Biotech to locally produce at least 40 million doses of the vaccine it is developing. The so-called CoronaVac is undergoing Phase III Clinical Trials in Indonesia.
“According sa President ng Indonesia, si President (Joko) Widodo, sabi nila mga mid-2021 pa sila matatapos at makakapag-release ng bakunang ito,” Vergeire said.
(According to the President of Indonesia, President Widodo, they said they will finish and release the vaccine by mid-2021.)
Sinovac is among the vaccines initially approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 but its proposed clinical trials in the Philippines have not yet pushed through.
Vergeire pointed out that unlike the other vaccines, Sinovac uses the whole inactivated virus in its vaccine.
The Department of Science and Technology said last week that COVID-19 vaccines would probably be available to the Filipino public in the second quarter of 2021.
The country has logged over 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Wednesday, of which, more than 65,000 are active.