Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection chief: PH coordinating with 31 vaccine developers, manufacturers

The Task Group on Vaccine Evaluation and Selection (TG-VES) is closely coordinating with 31 vaccine manufacturers and developers for supply of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines in the country.

A staff member displays samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at Sinovac Biotech Ltd., in Beijing, capital of China, March 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was disclosed by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara, who heads the task group, which provides recommendations on which vaccines will be considered for negotiation and procurement.

"Dahil sa limitado na kakayahan ng Pilipinas na magsagawa ng vaccine development, ang pamahalaan sa pamamagitan po ng DOST ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa ilang bilateral partners para sa vaccine development at clinical trials (Due to the limited capacity of the Philippines to conduct vaccine development, the government through DOST is coordinating with several bilateral partners for vaccine development and clinical trials),” she said.

"Sa ngayon nakikipagcoordinate po tayo, ang TG-VES sa 31 vaccine manufacturers at developers sa buong mundo (We are currently coordinating with TG-VES with 31 vaccine manufacturers and developers around the world)."

The TG-VES is composed of the DOST, Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry - Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) and the National Development Company (NDC).

The task group oversees the applications for the conduct of clinical trials in the country, and evaluates the results of these trials. It is tasked to evaluate safety, efficacy and other relevant data from clinical trials, existing evidence and updates on vaccine development, and international recommendations on vaccine use.

In late January, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña announced that a total of 25 COVID-19 vaccine developers coming from 10 countries were negotiating with the Philippines through the DOST. “Out of these, there are already 12 that have signed confidentiality disclosure agreements,” he explained.

Dela Peña said that of the 25 vaccine developers, six are from China, six from the United States, three from Chinese Taipei, two from Russia, two from Australia and two from Germany. There is one developer each from other countries including India, Japan, United Kingdom, and Canada.