Duterte may get shot of COVID-19 vaccine from Russia by May 2021 - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte may receive the coronavirus disease vaccine from Russia by May next year, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the vaccination to Duterte of Sputnik-V being developed by Gamaleya Institute will happen after the clinical trials to be conducted simultaneously in the country and in Russia from October to March next year.
"Russia will fund the clinical trial to be conducted in the Philippines. By April, it is expected that the Russian vaccine will be registered to Food and Drug Administration," he said.
"That means, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will only be injected of the Russian vaccine on May 1, 2021," Roque said, noting that the target came from the Department of Health and Department of Science and Technology.
Duterte has thanked Russia for offering their vaccine in the country.
To show his gratitude, Duterte offered to be the first to receive the vaccine from Russia to ensure if it is safe for him, it would be safe for other Filipinos.
Prior to conducting the clinical trials in the Philippines, Roque said there will be a review by the vaccine expert panel of the result of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 of clinical trials that were done in Russia.
He said those who want to participate in the trial for the Russian vaccine will be on voluntary basis.
He also said Russia is open to "transfer technology" for manufacturing the vaccine locally.
He said Russia is also encouraging other countries to help in the manufacturing of the vaccine.
While the projection to use Russian vaccine will be by next year, Roque said it is possible other countries could release earlier their COVID-19 vaccine.
He cited the case of manufacturers in the United States and China which are on the third phase of their trials.
With this, Roque expressed belief that Duterte's earlier statement that there would be "COVID-free Christmas" is still possible.
Roque indicated that in case other countries could complete the development of the vaccine against COVID-19 earlier, Duterte might get his first shot from them and not from Russia anymore.
"As far as the President is concerned, he asked, 'Can I have vaccination more than once?' The answer initially is perhaps only one because what we are looking at is what is the most effective and safest (vaccine)," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS