Despite India's COVID-19 crisis, envoy says vaccines will arrive ''within one month''
By Ella Dionisio
Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr on Monday assured that there will be no possible delays in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from India as the Indian government did not impose any export ban.
During the ''Laging Handa'' public briefing, Bagatsing said the eight million order of Covaxin can be delivered ''within one month'' as long as the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) can speed up the requirements.
"The Indian government (did) not announce any ban on the export of vaccines but we still have to get approval from them in order for us to send them to the Philippines... Once regulatory requirements are secured, I don't think there will be an issue," he said.
"We hope the requirement can be expedited by the regulatory authorities of the Philippines so that it can be brought there... Eight million Covaxin and once all the approvals are in place, they could be sent there within one month," Bagatsing added.
"Upon discussion with the importers, as long as there is an approval in the country, they can deliver as soon as possible time," he added.
Bagatsing said the FDA is requiring one document from Covaxin manufacturer, Bharat Biotech for the full approval and the Department of Finance (DOF) also asking for a document for the pricing review.
"If those two hurdles are settled then orders can be made and shipment can follow," he said.
"It's a moving target, the guarantee is once all approval is secured then (the manufacturer) can rollout and export the vaccines," he added.
As to the government's tie up with Serum Institute of India on the procurement of Novavax, he said it is expected to be delivered by third or fourth quarter.
"The 30 million Novavax... (Its) scheduled delivery is on the third or fourth quarter of this year," he said.
India is facing a huge problem as COVID-19 cases spiked. But Bagatsing said the Indian government will not give the Philippines a hard time in the delivery of the vaccines.
"I (also) don't think the Indian government will give us a hard time getting authority or approval for the export of vaccines," he added.
Last March, National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr went to India to negotiate purchase of the vaccines. DMS