The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has identified the eight proposed sites where a local study on the safety of using different coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses and vaccine platforms in Filipino adults will be conducted in June this year.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the study, which will be spearheaded by the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI) for 18 months or from June 2021 up to November 2022, has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB).
He said before the study starts, the DOST “will first have to obtain approval” from the FDA and the PHREB.
“The needed information for the Filipino population will be generated from eight proposed study sites and these are: Antipolo or Marikina City, Manila, Pasig City, Makati or Pasay City, Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, Cebu and Davao,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday.
During his weekly report on Friday, May 21, de la Peña announced that the study will be conducted by the PSAAI, led by Dr. Michelle De Vera.
The study is expected to “evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of mixing different COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine platforms in Filipino adults.”
Based on the report provided by de la Peña, the government has allocated P133 million to support the study.
“To carry out the aims of the study, the safety and immunogenicity of completing the vaccination series from the available COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines will be evaluated for those given Sinovac as the first dose,” the DOST chief said.
“Combinations of Sinovac vaccine with other vaccine brand will be the main aim of the study due to it being the most stable vaccine supply in the country.”
The FDA has so far issued emergency use authorization (EUA) to COVID-19 vaccine developed by American drug firm Moderna, American drugmaker Pfizer, United Kingdom-based AstraZeneca, China’s Sinovac, Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, India’s Bharat Biotech, and US-based firm Johnson & Johnson.
De la Peña said the data that will be derived from the population from the eight study sites “will further clarify the unknowns related to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.”
“Local clinical data to be generated from the Filipino people on the interchanging of available COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines can serve as the basis for guidelines/policies and what vaccines/vaccine platforms can be mixed, which may be applied by the Department of Health (DOH) for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).”
“The relevant data generated may provide basis for the guidelines/policies of the DOH on the vaccination roll-out especially during situations of limited vaccine supplies or vaccine shortage.”