MANILA – Coronavirus vaccine candidates undergo strict screening to ensure that they are safe, effective, and affordable, National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. assured on Wednesday.
"Kaya po dapat mapanatag po ang ating mga mamamayan na talagang ang ating bibilhing mga vaccine ay safe, effective at saka affordable po (That's why our people must be assured that we will buy Covid-19 vaccines that are really safe, effective and also affordable)," Galvez said during a Laging Handa public briefing.
He said all vaccine candidates in the country will undergo stringent regulation screening and should be accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Galvez said tight regulations are also being imposed in the United States and the United Kingdom where they have regulatory bodies accredited by the WHO.
In closing deals with vaccine developers from such countries, Galvez said a clause on graft and corruption should be specified in the contract of agreement.
"Aside from our stringent regulatory sa ating FDA at saka (with our Food and Drug Administration and) panel of experts, mayroon din po silang mga expert na titingnan po talaga iyong tinatawag na global assessment ng mga vaccines na mga available (they also have their own experts to look after the global assessment of the available vaccines)," he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Socorro Escalante, WHO national professional officer, cited the key criteria to know whether a country is ready for vaccine deployment.
Soccoro said the country must have a vaccine deployment plan.
"It’s very important to note that in the Philippines, the President has signed the Executive Order authorizing the FDA to grant Emergency Use Authorization for vaccines and also to rely on or to recognize assessment of these vaccines from other stringent regulatory authorities," she said.
"So that is a very important step that makes the country ready because the first filter for vaccines to be deployed in the country is about the regulatory process to ensure that all vaccines coming into the country are of safe, efficacious and of good quality,” she added.
Soccoro said the country should prepare for cold chain logistics for the distribution of vaccines in the country.
"But we note that the country has already existing cold chain equipment even in RITM and the government is ready to deploy the ultracold chain and in addition strengthen the cold chain of the country," she said.
The other key criteria are the safe monitoring of the vaccines, she said.
"So, all vaccines have the potential or the risk of having an adverse event or unexpected event after po na ma-deploy natin iyong (we deploy the) vaccine and it’s very important to have that monitoring process and the FDA and ating (our) EPI program is already working on the protocol to monitor the vaccine," she added.
Soccoro said 232 candidate vaccines are being developed worldwide.
Of the number, 172 are now in their pre-clinical phase of trials, while 60 are currently in the clinical phase.
There are 20 vaccines that are in Phase 1 of clinical trial, while the other 10 vaccines are in Phase 3.
"And out of all these vaccines in the clinical trial phase, sampu na po ang nabigyan ng (some 10 vaccines were already given with) conditional approval or emergency use authorizations around the world at isa na po ang nabigyan ng emergency use listing ng WHO (and one of these was provided with WHO's emergency use listing)," Soccoro said. (PNA)