Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) is interested in partnering with to other vaccine manufacturers globally to locally produce a COVID-19 vaccine as well as for other diseases since the Philippines has yet to produce a single vaccine of its own.
“You know, if you're at it anyway, you might as well manufacture vaccines that are applicable to influenza, to polio, measles, chickenpox, smallpox, you might as well get into it, the full spectrum of vaccines that the Filipino people need,” said MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Pangilinan said they have already met with Glovax Biotech Corporation which is one of the proponents for the establishment of a P7.5 billion vaccine manufacturing plant. It plans to produce EuCorVac-19 of South Korea’s Eubiologics.
“But we said that the vaccine that they introduced in the discussion was one that we're not familiar with, and I'm not sure that it is in the approved list of the government, in respect of those vaccines,” he said.
He added that, “So I think that we're probably at the basement of that, of that effort of the process.”
Pangilinan said “we were open to other vaccine producers globally. No, we were seeing particular brands that are preferred by Filipinos in terms of the vaccines that they would like to have. So we probably were gravitating to those vaccines.”
He said that, “if you're going to build the facilities for vaccines, the important part is you have to partner with international pharmaceutical companies who specialize in those vaccines, we don't think the country has the capability to develop indigenously the relevant vaccines needed for each particular disease.”
Pangilinan noted though that, SARS2 coronavirus will not disappear even if herd immunity is achieved and it has yet to be determined how long vaccines will last so there will continue to be a need to produce COVID-19 vaccines in the future.
“And people are talking about boosters, after a period of time, that will continue to be needed by those which have been vaccinated. So the vaccination booster period will be several years,” he said.