Roque: Financing Initial COVID-19 Vaccine Supply ‘Not A Problem’

Roque: Financing Initial COVID-19 Vaccine Supply ‘Not A Problem’

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Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said funding the initial supply of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine from foreign partners is “not a problem” as the government has a “financing scheme” already in place.

“Whether or not it’s in the budget, we have a financing scheme already in place. Kung mayroon na po tayong mabibili ngayon, makakabili na tayo ngayon kasi hindi naman po problema ang financing (If the supply is ready, we can procure right away because financing it won’t be a problem),” he said in a presser.

Roque said the Department of Foreign Affairs is mobilizing its foreign missions to coordinate with host countries and foreign manufacturers to discuss possible partnerships on the Covid-19 vaccine.

Among these posts are the Philippine Embassies in the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and Israel.

“Hindi naman tayo papayag na maiwan tayo, na hindi tayo makakuha. So we’re exerting all efforts na masigurado na makakakuha tayo ng most amount of quantity that we can at the soonest time possible (We won’t allow the Philippines to be left behind. We’re exerting all efforts to ensure that we would get the most number of vaccines at the soonest time possible),” he said.

Recently, Philippine Ambassador to Washington DC Jose Manuel Romualdez said Pfizer is set to apply for emergency approval of its candidate vaccine this November, which is being tested on 38,000 participants worldwide.

He noted, however, that the Department of Health has yet to sign a confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA) with the American firm in preparation for Phase 3 trials of candidate vaccines in the Philippines.

“Considering that we urgently need to get vaccines from wherever as soon as they are available, I was shocked to find out that DOH Secretary (Francisco) Duque has not signed a simple thing as a CDA with Pfizer,” he penned in a PhilStar column on October 18.

Romualdez stressed that signing a CDA is not a commitment but simply gives the pharmaceutical firm an assurance that their formula would not be disclosed.

“It’s only the first step to enable Pfizer to present what their candidate vaccine is all about, after which a panel of experts headed by DOST will then review the results of the Phase 1 and 2 trials in preparation for Phase 3 local trials. Once approval is given, the vaccine can then be sold in the Philippines,” he said. (PNA)

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