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Philippines Widens Potential Sources for COVID-19 Vaccine

Signs up for global facility, COVAX.
by John Paulo Aguilera
Jul 24, 2020
Photo/s: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

The Philippines moved to increase its chances of securing a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available by joining the COVAX Facility, a global immunization alliance, the Department of Health said Friday.

Manila has its own human trials in the pipeline with at least five vaccine candidates from China and Taiwan. It is also part of a testing effort led by the World Health Organization called the "solidarity trial." Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romuladez said he signified interest for future COVID-19 vaccines from US pharmaceuticals.

The COVAX facility will bring the vaccine sourcing avenues made public to at least four. The Philippines does not produce vaccines and imports all its immunization requirements.

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The COVAX facility is the vaccine pillar of a larger initiative called ACT or Access to COVID-19 Tools. It aims to hasten the development and production of anti-COVID tools and ensure equitable access, said Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire. COVAX is "leading in vaccine development, manufacturing, procurement, delivery, at allocation," she said.

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"Kapag fully financed na ang COVAX, maaari nitong bigyan ng lahat ng participating governments katulad ng Pilipinas ng naaayon na share oras na magkaroon ng matagumpay na vaccine production," Vergeire added.

(Once the COVAX is fully finances, participating governments like the Philippines can get its share once vaccine production is successful.)

The vaccines will be financed by 75 nations in the alliance from their own budgets, while the remaining 90 members from lower-income countries can be supported through donations to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment of the Vaccine Alliance or Gavi, the alliance said in a statement.

The facility is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.

COVAX aims to procure two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that passed regulatory approval and/or WHO prequalification by the end of 2021.

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