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Duterte says Covid-19 vaccine may be available by September

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MANILA (The Philippine Star) — For President Rodrigo Duterte, the country’s hope of returning to normal rests on the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.

 

In his addresses, Duterte has repeatedly asked Filipinos to endure coronavirus restrictions as he pinned the nation's hopes on a vaccine that would help end the pandemic.

 

In a speech late Monday, Duterte accepted Russia’s offer of clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine and volunteered to get injected as a gesture of gratitude and trust. The president earlier asked China to give the Philippines priority access to coronavirus vaccines it is developing.

 

Duterte also projected that vaccines will be distributed worldwide by September or October.

 

“You just wait a little longer). By December, in the fullness of God’s time we will have hopefully, a Covid-free December and we can enjoy this Christmas season,” Duterte said.

 

“You just wait, it's there. I was telling you before 'vaccine, vaccine, vaccine.' Now the vaccine is here.”

 

But as scientists race to produce Covid-19 vaccines at unprecedented speed, Dr. Lulu Bravo, executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, advised caution.

 

“Let’s listen to the vaccine experts internationally and locally PLEASE! Otherwise, these are speculations, wishful thinking and even miraculous predictions!” Bravo said.

 

“Vaccines may be available but these could be questionable with regards to safety, efficacy, effectiveness and impact,” she added.

 

In an interview on Now You Know's "Viewpoint" in August, Rep. Janette Garin, a former health secretary and vaccinologist, said vaccines take time to develop and manufacture.

 

"Maybe the earliest would probably be six months or eight months (for development)," she said then.

 

She added that under the Universal Health Care Act, "there is a Phase 4 stage before you can implement any vaccine or any medicine or any device for that matter."

 

"That will actually mean that all countries have to use it for five or 10 years before the Philippines can do it."

 

She said that the law will have to be amended to fast-track deployment of prospective Covid-19 vaccines.

 

"September, you'll be very close. December we might just have the initial results of Stage 3A. But then, that's again too tight because Stage 3A is usually where many vaccine developments fail," she said.

 

Dengvaxia, a dengue vaccine rolled out when Garin was health secretary, was discontinued after pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur disclosed in November 2017 that said a post-clinical trial study of Dengue Tetravalent Vaccine (Live, Attenuated) indicated an increased risk of hospitalization for dengue and "severe" dengue, "predominantly Grade I or II Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever," for patients not previously infected by the virus, which is spread through mosquito bites.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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