MANILA--As the world nears mass distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, a year after the coronavirus first emerged in China before it rapidly spread across the world, countries are now prepared to buy vaccines.
Last week, national officials said the Philippines has 17 possible sources of coronavirus vaccines, as the country looks to procure millions of doses in the first quarter of 2021.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday said he and national coronavirus task force chief Carlito Galvez Jr. will decide together which vaccine will be acquired for inoculation.
Duque in an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo said he would support Galvez's decision on which vaccine to purchase as it's not advisable to acquire only one brand because of limited supplies.
"Kukuha tayo sa mga iba't ibang manufacturers para mapuno natin 'yung kinakailangan natin," he said.
(We will purchase vaccines from various manufacturers so we can fill up our needs.)
Duque said a consensus would be formed between the DOH and the NTF, adding that a process has been laid out for choosing an available vaccine.
"Maraming stages lang naman kasi itong vaccine roadmap. Hindi kakayanin ng isang tao lamang ang mga desisyon. Napakabigat para desisyunan ito, kaya pinakamaganda consensus building," he said.
(The vaccine roadmap has many stages. One person won't be able to decide by himself. This decision is heavy so the best solution is consensus building.)
The health secretary added that the choice of vaccine will be "science based and evidence based."
Drugmakers, such as Pfizer Inc. and Moderna, earlier announced their vaccines are at least 90 percent effective.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier on Wednesday said officials are finalizing the information drive to prepare communities on the vaccine, as the DOH plans to mount an information drive on the COVID-19 vaccine to encourage Filipinos to be vaccinated and to quell the public fear.
Vergeire said her department started planning the information campaign as early as October, when the World Health Organization announced it would be conducting clinical trials in the country.
The Philippines is among the countries participating in the organization’s solidarity trial for COVID-19 vaccines, with 2,000 to 3,000 participants. But the clinical trials have been postponed until December.