Manila and Moscow will hold simultaneous human trials on a Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine in October and based on its timeline, it could be administered to President Rodrigo Duterte at the earliest on May 1 next year, Malacanang said.
The Phase 3 trials will run from October to March, after which it will be registered before Filipino and Russian regulators, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. Phase 3 is the last stage before a vaccine can be distributed commercially.
"Sa Abril inaasahang marerehistro po ang bakuna ng Russia sa at ibig sabihin po, sa Mayo 1, 2021 pa lamang na pupwedeng magpasaksak ng bakuna mula sa Russia ang ating Presidente (We expect Russia's vaccine to be registered by April. This means that only by May 1, 2021, our President can be injected with the drug.)," Roque said.
The 75-year-old Duterte said earlier this week that he was willing to receive the Russian vaccine first to ensure that it is safe.
Human trials are also sheduled later this year for at least five vaccine candidates from China and Taiwan, according to Gloriani. The Philippines is also part of the World Health Organization's solidarity trials, which will move faster since it involves simultaneous tests in multiple countries.
Manila is also part of the global vaccine alliance COVAX and committed to secure at least 3 million doses. The Department of Health also set aside at least P2.4 billion to buy vaccines once they are available.
The Philippines, through the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, will buy enough vaccines for an initial 20 million people. At two doses each and at $10 per dose, the vaccination program could cost $400 million or P20 billion, Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez said.