QC solon calls for public support for local production of COVID-19 vaccines

Published May 14, 2021, 1:38 PM

by Ben Rosario

Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo is rallying the public to support the plan to locally produce 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, saying that the move could be “the fastest way of achieving herd immunity in our country and around the world.” Castelo, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, is confident that the local business sector will invest in this endeavor.

She said the country is not lacking of “patriotic” businessmen who will finance the domestic manufacture of vaccines.

“Manny Pangilinan has expressed readiness to support this grand initiative. I am sure that the likes of Ramon Ang and the Ayalas would only be willing to join him,” Castelo said in a press statement.

The administration lawmaker stated: “Let’s support the initiative to produce these vaccines locally. This would be a game changer in fighting the pandemic, hastening economic recovery and returning to normal life.

According to Castelo the ambitious project will free the country from reliance from vaccine developers who have prioritized rich nations over poorer countries like the Philippines.

She added that aside from hastening vaccination and herd immunity, domestic vaccine production “will also create jobs for many Filipinos.” To start local vaccine production, Castelo stressed that international pharmaceutical companies would have to lift patent restrictions and share the results of their research and studies with the rest of the world.

She noted that US President Joe Biden has called for the waiver of Covid-19 jab patents to allow other countries to produce it and fight the pandemic in their territories.

“Let us share the call of the United States. These drug companies have by now already recouped their investments, with their numerous previous, present and future purchase orders,” Castelo stated.

“The markets show that these firms have grown immensely in value since they reported their vaccine research and development breakthroughs,” she pointed out.

Castelo reminded drugmakers and countries opposing the vaccine patent waiver call that “no one is safe from Covid-19 until everyone is safe.” “We have seen it. Super-spreader variants are finding their way to other nations even with stricter border controls. The pandemic has to be fought and controlled nationally and globally,” Castelo said.