UP expert says it would take months before PH receives Sputnik 5

Published August 13, 2020, 12:44 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Russia stunned the world this week when President Vladimir Putin announced the development of Sputnik 5, the world’s first vaccine for the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
(Photo by Handout / Russian Direct Investment Fund / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Duterte announced that Russia would be giving the vaccines to the Philippines and he has such confidence on the vaccine that he is willing to try it out himself.

While the news sounds promising, Prof. Ranjit Rye, founder of UP-OCTA Research team, said in an interview with “Dobol B sa News TV” that “matagal pa ho ‘yan (it would take a while).”

“Apart from getting it cleared from human consumption, ipo-produce pa ‘yan (it will still be produced). Very hopeful that one country has started already, pero hindi ho kaagad bukas nandiyan na (but the vaccines will not be here tomorrow),” he said.

Rye added that Filipinos should not be “pabaya (careless)” just because a vaccine has been developed.

The number of COVID-19 positive cases has been increasing in the country, and Rye admitted that the positivity rate is “very high” now with an average of 3,000 cases a day. However, he said that the trend is actually sloping downwards now.

“‘Wag tayong mababahala sa mataas na kaso ng COVID-19 araw-araw dahil marami rito ay backlog lang (Let us not be alarmed by the high number of of COVID-19 cases every day because many of it is just a backlog),” he said.

Rye cited the stringent quarantine measures in Cebu City, which helped contain the spread of COVID-19. This is why, he said, the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is effective and suggested that Metro Manila be under it for another two weeks in order to “turn the situation around.”

“Kaya natin ‘yan. We can suppress this virus. But people have to make a decision, but in the government level and individual level,” he said.

Duterte has to make a decision again whether or not to continue the MECQ after Aug. 18 or revert back to the general community quarantine (GCQ).

When asked about the possible extension, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said: “Anything is possible but highly unlikely.”