MANILA— The Department of Health on Saturday said it has yet to receive from the World Health Organization its list of COVID-19 vaccines that will be included in clinical trials.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the WHO committed to release the list of vaccines, as well as the sites where the trials will be conducted, by the third week of October.
“Aantayin lang po natin kasi mayroon din silang ibinibigay na tentative date for starting the trials by the end of October,” Vergeire said during the Laging Handa virtual press briefing.
(We’ll wait for that because they also gave us a tentative date for starting the trials by the end of October.)
While waiting, Vergeire said several agreements have been made between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ensure the local government’s help in the conduct of the clinical trials.
“Lahat ng preparatory activity inaayos na natin so that pagka nasabi na ng WHO that we could already start, mauumpisahan natin agad yan,” said Vergeire.
Last month, the DOH said the Philippines was still waiting for Russia to provide more information on its coronavirus vaccine candidate, Sputnik V, before its clinical trials in the Philippines could start.
President Rodrigo Duterte said before that his administration will prioritize COVID-19 vaccines made by China and Russia if they are proven safe and effective.
As of Friday, the Philippines has logged 316,678 confirmed COVID-19 infections, including 56,445 active cases. Of the total, 254,617 have recovered and 5,616 have died.
On Thursday, the Philippines ranked 20th among countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started.