Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography committee, wants to ensure access to safe and effective coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for all Filipinos.
This after President Duterte signed yesterday Executive Order 121 which allows the Director-General of the Food and Drug Administration to issue Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 drugs and vaccines,
With the EUA, the process of approving the use of COVID-19 vaccines from abroad would be expedited, Go explained.
“Napirmahan na po ni Pangulong Duterte ‘yung (EO allowing the issue of) Emergency Use Authorization, so ngayon, mas mabilis na ang proseso. Mas mabilis makakagalaw ang FDA. Ito ang inaantay ng FDA kasi merong vaccine na dumaan na sa clinical trial sa ibang bansa at gusto nila magbenta dito sa atin. Ito ay papayagan thru EUA,’’ he said. (President Duterte has already signed the (EO allowing the issue of) Emergency Use Authorization, the process is now faster. The FDA could move faster. The FDA has been waiting for this after a vaccine underwent clinical trial in other countries and they want to sale it to us here. This would be allowed thru EUA.)
“Sisiguraduhin po ng FDA na safe po ang vaccine at ‘yung efficacy ng vaccine na ito dahil hindi po basta basta papayag ang taumbayan na turukan ng vaccine kung di sila sigurado na safe sila,’’ he added. (The FDA would ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective because the people would not easily want to be inoculated unless they are sure that they are safe.)
Go said that it does not matter where the vaccine would come from as long as it is safe and effective.
In addition, Go had discussed with Carlito G. Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the National Action Plan Against COVID-19 (NAP), that the acquisition of the vaccines from international companies, such as Gamaleya, Moderna and Pfizer, would be done by phases.
“So ang tanging isyu dito ay dapat maging safe muna bago nila ibigay, walang papayag na magpa-inject kung di sigurado na safe. Buhay ng bawat Pilipino ang nakataya dito, di natin makukumbinsi ang mga Pilipino kung di tayo siguradong safe ang vaccine na ituturok sa kanila,’’ he said. (So, the only issue here is the safety of the vaccine before using it, nobody wants to be injected with it if there is no assurance that it is safe. The lives of the Filipinos are at stake here, we cannot convince the Filipinos to have it if we are not sure that the vaccine to be injected to them is safe.)
“Ito ang napag-usapan namin ni DOH Secretary (Francisco) Duque (III) and Secretary Galvez na kapag nadeklara na itong safe ng FDA, uunahin natin ang mahihirap, uunahin natin ang mga vulnerable,’’ he stressed. (This is what I have discussed with DOH Secretary Duque and Sec. Galvez that once this is declared as safe by the FDA, we will prioritize the poor and the vulnerable sectors.)
“Uunahin rin natin ang mga frontliners, mga nagtatrabaho sa panahong ito tulad ng mga medical workers, militar at PNP. And, of course mga guro, kasi kung magbubukas na tayo ng klase sa susunod na taon, sila ang kailangan na safe po dahil haharap sila sa mga estudyante,’’ he added. (We would also prioritize the frontliners, the medical workers, military and PNP. And of course the teachers, because if we would open the classes next year, they have to be safe because they would face the students.)
As for the budget, Go said that sufficient funds should be allocated for the procurement, storage and distribution of the vaccines.
He reminded concerned officials to ensure that public funds are used properly and the right processes are followed.
“Kailangan natin meron tayong pondo dahil magrereserba po tayo nito. At ipinaalala po ni Pangulong Duterte sa finance managers natin na siguraduhing magkaroon ng due diligence. Bago bayaran, siguraduhing makakadeliver sila. Bago bigyan ng downpayment, siguraduhing ito po ang timetable at makakarating at mauuna sa mahihirap nating kababayan,’’ he added. (We need to have funds because we would be making reservations. President Duterte has reminded our finance managers to ensure that there would be due diligence. Before paying, there should be an assurance that they could deliver. Before giving the downpayment, be sure that it would be delivered on or before the agreed timetable.)