Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said on Saturday, April 3, that he supports President Duterte's plan to establish a vaccine institute in the Philippines.
The close administration ally and chairman of the Senate health committee said he looks forward to the vaccine institute to address the country’s reliance to foreign countries and firms for vaccines and other medicines for infectious diseases such as the novel coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19).
He said the vaccine institute will enable the country to manufacture and even develop its own vaccines against future pandemics.
“Mas mabuting handa tayo, mas mabuting meron tayong manufacturing ng bakuna para ‘di na tayo maipit. Napapanahon na po na magkaroon tayo ng sarili nating kapasidad dito sa ating bansa (It's better to be prepared, that we have our own vaccine manufacturing plant so we will no longer be limited. It's high time that our country has its own capacity to manufacture vaccines)," Go said in a statement.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said last Tuesday, March 30, that Duterte wanted to establish the Philippines’ own vaccine institute as his “legacy” before his term ends in 2022.
Roque said that the President has already instructed the Department of Budget and Management to allocate a "substantial amount" for the proposed vaccine institute.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) also welcomed the plan.
In the meantime, Go appealed to the DOST, in coordination with health experts, local pharmaceutical companies, the private sector, and those from the academe, to engage with international vaccine producers so that the government could immediately start locally manufacturing much needed COVID-19 vaccines.
“This initiative will not only boost our local vaccine supply, but can also help increase production of vaccines in the world market,” he said.