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COVID-19 Vaccine more likely be Given to PH for Free – DOST

The Philippines’ participation in the global search for the COVID-19 vaccine will not only ensure a secure portion of the vaccine supply for the country but more likely be given for free.

In an online media briefing on Wednesday, July 8, DOST-Philippines Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya said, “First of all we have already committed to the Solidarity Trial conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO). So, as we know, the vaccine is likely to be provided free of charge.”

He went on to clarify that other expenses needed to provide vaccination in communities will likely be shouldered by the DOST and the Department of Health.

The Philippines is among the participating nations in the global clinical trial seeking to find a vaccine for the viral disease.

Montoya said partaking in the trial will ensure that the country has access to the vaccine, as well as secure “a shorter and easier route in registration with the Philippine Food and Drugs Administration.”

In the same press briefing, Dr. Nina Gloriani, a Professor at the University of the Philippines – Manila, said there are eight candidate vaccines that are showing more potential than others.

This number is out of around 20 that are currently under phases one to three of the clinical trials being done across the globe, according to Gloriani.

Particularly standing out, she said, are the vaccines being developed by companies in the United Kingdom, the United States, China, and India.

“Included in those eight are those that we are considering to test in the Philippines. These are the two from China, which were approved by the IATF and which I earlier mentioned,” she said.

The Inter-agency Task Force for COVID-19 earlier approved collaborations for vaccine trials with five vaccine developers, three of which are based in China. These include the Chinese Academy of Science – Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, the SinoPharm’s Wuhan Institute and Beijing Biologicals Institute, and the Sinovac – Biotech Ltd.

Apart from the five, Gloriani said the Philippines continues to connect with international collaborators and vaccine companies with promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates.