DOH-7: Public, private cooperation needed in purchasing vaccine
CEBU CITY, Philippines — News on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines soon rolling out in the Philippines have recently sent waves in all sectors.
And even more so locally with Cebu being named as one of the areas that could receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines.
Read: COVID vaccine trials in PH: What to expect
While health officials here are still waiting for any official word, they cautioned both public and private sectors planning to purchase the highly sought out shots.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), said buying vaccinations needed careful and calculated steps.
Loreche, in a virtual press conference on Monday, December 14, said local governments and members of the private sector who had intentions to buy the vaccines should be working together to ensure that its results would be effective.
“If we would want to provide immunization to the community, we would need 60 percent of the entire population to be inoculated to be able to achieve herd immunity,” said Loreche.
Read: PH COVID-19 vaccination goal: 70% of Pinoys in 5 years
“It would be a waste of funds, time and efforts if we would fall short of that and find it difficult to attain. This is why it will definitely require partnerships and collaborations to become successful,” she added.
However, as of December 14, DOH-7 said they had not received any official and unofficial information both from the public and private sectors in Central Visayas to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
Nevertheless, Loreche said their agency was willing to extend assistance and guidance to any groups willing to take this initiative.
“We welcome these plans, if there’s any but so far, we haven’t received or heard one yet,” she said.
Luzon on vaccines
In Metro Manila, several private groups, including conglomerates, expressed intentions to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
The provincial government of Batanes also recently announced that they were planning to allocate portions of their budget for the purchase of these vaccines.
Read: What we know about COVID-19 vaccines and side effects
More than a hundred vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the severe respiratory disease, are being developed worldwide and undergoing various stages of clinical trials. Such trials ensure that a vaccine is both safe and effective for people.
A candidate vaccine first undergoes a preclinical trial in which it is tested on mice and monkeys to see if it produces the desired immune response.
After that stage, the vaccine goes on to three phases of human trials.
Phase 1 involves a small number of people, typically between 10 to 100 to test the vaccine’s safety.
A much larger group of at least 100 to 1,000 people are enrolled in Phase 2 to determine its effectiveness and the right dosage.
For Phase 3, at least 1,000 are enrolled to confirm the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
Barely 11 months since the virus emerged from a wet market in Wuhan, China, two candidate vaccines have been found to be 95-percent effective.
Read: Pfizer: Think hard about not getting vaccine
These vaccines were developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health, which did not hold clinical trials in the Philippines.
The Philippines, however, will take part in an international Solidarity Trial on Vaccines led by the World Health Organization (WHO). / with reports from Philippine Daily Inquirer
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