Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo said Thursday it is possible that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines would roll out in the country as early as March 2021.
Domingo was responding to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s remarks saying President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Covid-19 vaccines acquired earlier than Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s projected period which is the second quarter of 2021.
On Wednesday, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 121 allowing Domingo to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Covid-19 drug and vaccine makers.
The United Kingdom (UK) has granted an EUA for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. of the United States (US) and BioNTech SE of Germany which will be distributed in limited numbers in the coming days.
“Nagiging mas hopeful ako, sa totoo lamang po, ang ine-expect ko na magkakaroon ng EUA sa US, UK or sa European Union mga December pa, kaya nagulat din po ako na ang UK nagbigay na ng EUA. Parang mas maaga po ito sa three weeks sa aking ine-expect at ang US FDA mukhang magbibigay na rin ng EUA possibly sa Pfizer at sa (I’m more hopeful, I’m expecting the US, UK or European Union to issue an EUA by December but the UK has issued one already. This is three weeks earlier than what I expected and it seems that the US will EUA to Pfizer and) Moderna within two weeks,” Domingo said during an online media briefing.
Domingo explained that Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers that would be able to secure an EUA from their respective countries or would be included in the emergency use list of the World Health Organization, can apply for an EUA in the Philippines.
He added Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac, and Sinofarm could be the first ones to apply to the country since they have already secured similar authorization from other countries.
The country’s panel of experts on vaccines, immunology, and infectious diseases would then review all the data the manufacturers would provide following the list of requirements set by the government.
“So, kapag nag-apply sila dito sa atin, probably, first few weeks ng January meron narin tayong maibigay na emergency use authorization at baka mapaaga nang kaunti, baka magkaroon ng chance by March eh magkaroon na ng bakuna dito sa Pilipinas. Magiging depende na lang dun sa production kung mayroong mailalaan na supply at made-deliver dito sa atin para ma-distribute natin (So, when they apply to us, probably first few weeks of January we can provide an EUA and there may be a chance that by March there’s already vaccine here in the Philippines. It will all depend on the production if supply can be allocated and delivered to us and we’ll distribute the vaccines),” Domingo said. (PNA)