MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN): While a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is still under development, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised the Philippine government on Monday (April 27) to already set up mechanisms that would help expedite the processing, accreditation and deployment of the vaccine in the country.
WHO acting country representative Socorro Escalante said that because it would take between a year and a half for the vaccine for Covid-19 to be available in the market, the Philippines should in the meantime formulate its strategy on how its rollout can be fast-tracked.
“We encourage the country to prepare its regulatory processes, in terms of the assessment and evaluation of the vaccine to help fast-track the registration of the vaccine.
"The government should also have a vaccine strategy, which would prioritise the most susceptible, such as the health care workers and those with comorbidities, ” Escalante said.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country was 7,777 as of Monday with the addition of 198 new cases.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a total of 932 people had recovered from Covid-19 with the recovery of 70 more patients.
But the death toll climbed to 511 as 10 more patients were reported to have died.
Nearly 70 per cent of those who succumbed to the severe respiratory disease, or 353 patients, belonged to the elderly population, most of whom were not vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia.
Escalante added that a feasibility study should also be done on how the vaccine can be locally produced. While the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is capable of doing this, she said that it could only do so now on a “small scale.”
“There is also a need to develop the laboratories so it can test the quality and safety of the vaccine because the Philippines doesn’t have that right now, ” she said.
Earlier, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that though vaccine research for Covid-19 was progressing “at an incredible speed, ” it would still take time for it to become available to the public.
Escalante explained that this was because the research and development phase alone would take around six months. After that, laboratory and animal studies would be done, followed by three phases of clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy. - Philippine Daily Inquirer