Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine secured the approval of the Health Technology Assessment Council, bringing it closer to being rolled out locally, the advisory body to the Department of Health said Friday.
The HTAC found the vaccine safe and efficacious, cost-effective, affordable, and desired by key stakeholders. It also reduces social inequities due to age, race or ethnicity, and clinical characteristics such as presence of comorbidities.
The HTAC advises both the DOH and state-run Philhealth. Under the Universal Health Care Act, the HTAC's approval is required for vaccines to be included in the government's immunization program.
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The seal of approval from the HTAC considered the vaccine's merits and is different from the emergency use certification of the Food and Drug Administration.
Overall, Pfizer vaccine's "benefits such as decreased symptomatic infection outweigh known short-term risks", HTAC said.
According to HTAC, the vaccine that could cost P1,242.41 per individual, is cost-effective as it could immunize up to 21 million Filipinos with a budget of over P26 billion.
It will cover 31.63% of the government's total budget allocation, as well as 30% of the country's target vaccinees for 2021.