Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured the public that the Philippine government will thoroughly vet and examine COVID-19 vaccines to ensure their safety and efficacy before rolling out their immunization program.
Nograles made the statement as the government banks on vaccinating Filipinos to arrest the effects of the global health crisis.
In a TV interview, Nograles said the government will use standards adopted in other countries in vetting and examining all COVID-19 vaccines the country is set to procure.
“Before any vaccine gets the approval of the [Food and Drug Administration], there is still a [Department of Science and Technology] Vaccine Expert Panel (DOST-VEP) that will study all of the data,” he said.
“[They] will pass through the VEP, then the FDA; and then the FDA will take a look at all these clinical studies, and all of the data possessed by the pharma companies,” he added.
Nograles, who heads the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said that on top of adopting the same standards with regard to the issuance of EUAs applied all around the world, the FDA has also required Sinovac and other pharmaceutical companies to submit Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from other countries.
In the Philippines, EUAs have already been issued to Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Sinovac and Gamaleya are currently applying for EUAs.
Nograles said that once vaccines are issued EUAs and distributed, they will be closely monitored by the government through its Adverse Effect Following Immunization Committee to make sure that they are safe and effective.
The Philippine government is targeting to vaccinate at least 50 million Filipinos against COVID-19 by the end of the year.
So far, the Philippines has procured 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac.
The government also signed a tripartite agreement with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for 17 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.