Philippines, WHO reach agreement on COVID-19 vaccines solidarity trial
The Philippines and the World Health Organization have reached an agreement on the local conduct of the international organization's "solidarity trial" for COVID-19 vaccines, the Department of Science and Technology said on Tuesday.
The trial is expected to yield "local data" on the vaccines' effectivity and safety, and which of them are most fit for Filipinos, officials earlier said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan have signed a letter of agreement for the trial, said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara.
"Pormal na po ang ating pagsasagawa nitong WHO solidarity trial," she said in a televised public briefing.
(Our conduct of the WHO solidarity trial will now be formal.)
The WHO has issued the final clinical trial protocol, standard operating procedures, and investigational brochures for 4 vaccines that the trial will cover, Guevara said.
She said authorities cannot disclose the vaccine brands yet because this must get approval from the Philippine drug regulator first.
The Philippines has received some 20.7 million COVID-19 shots so far, and at least 3.5 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated as of July 11. It started its vaccine rollout last March 1.
The government aims to vaccinate 58 to 70 million of the 109 population this year to safely reopen the economy, which suffered its worst postwar slump last year due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Philippines has the second highest COVID-19 tally in Southeast Asia, with some 1.4 million coronavirus infections.
Authorities are on guard against more infectious COVID-19 variants that could spur an uptick in cases.