Duterte OKs in principle granting FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved in principle to grant the Food and Drug Administration emergency use authority for entry of coronavirus disease vaccines in the country, Malacanang said on Thursday.
This as the Philippine government is eyeing four possible sources of COVID-19 vaccines and arrangements will be made by December.
"Approved in principle, but there's no EO (Executive Order) yet, but approved in principle," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised press briefing when asked if Duterte has decided on the proposal of the Department of Health to issue an ECO granting FDA the emergency use authority to fast-track importation and use of COVID-19 vaccines.
Roque said Duterte has committed to issue the EO.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said that if the FDA would be granted the emergency use authority, processing time for various vaccines that will enter the country will be cut from six months to about 21 days only.
In the same press briefing, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., who is also the vaccine czar, said the government has four sources of vaccines and there is a possibility that arrangements could be made "within two weeks to three weeks from now."
"So, we have prepared the financing plan in order to buy the said vaccines," he said in the same televised press briefing.
He said of the four possible sources of vaccines, the Department of Science and Technology has signed a confidentiality data agreement with three and the clinical trial could take place by December or January.
Galvez said the vaccines could come from China, United Kingdom, and United States.
Galvez assured that contact tracing would continue as the budget for the undertaking would be part of the allocation of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
"We still need to sustain (the contact tracing) because as of now we should not be complacent because we don't know what will be the effect or if the vaccines will be effective. So, our recommendation is to still strengthen our active case finding because we are not sure yet as of now," he said.
As of November 19, COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 413,430, with 30,493 active cases, 374,939 recoveries, and 7,998 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS