DOH-7 chief assures Westvac vaccine safe
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) chief has assured that getting vaccinated in the clinical trials that a Chinese pharmaceutical company has recently conducted in Cebu City does not pose a risk to the vaccinated individual.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH-7 director, said that the firm would not have been given the approval to conduct the clinical trials if the vaccine was not safe.
Bernadas said that once the trial would be on its third phase, this would simply mean that the vaccine had emergency use authorization where it could be used for the people just like the common vaccines.
He was referring to WestVac Biopharma CO., Ltd., which was one of four companies given approval to conduct COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in the country.
According to the the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) website, the others are Sinovac, Jansenn Pharmaceuticals, and Clover Biopharmaceuticals.
However, only WestVac Biopharma has clinical trial locations in Cebu City.
Bernadas assured again that the Westvac Biopharma vaccine was safe, saying that the company might have passed through the Philippine Health Research and Development, the research consortium of Central Visayas, which was under the supervision of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“Ang ato anang hospital nga na-involved ug ang katong nag-conduct nga company, mao na akong gihulat unta nga moagi sila pero niagi na sila sigurado sa atong research consortium kay di mana sila makasugod kon wa sila makaagi ana,” he added.
(Our part in that are those hospitals involved and the company conducting the clinical trials. That is what I am waiting to pass through me, but I am sure that they had passed through our research consortium because they could not start if they did not pass through there.)
But Bernadas said that he was still waiting for the Chinese pharmaceutical company to visit their office prior to their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial which was conducted among the residents in Cebu City.
He also said that he was aware that WestVac would be conducting their trials here since they received a furnished copy of endorsement of the study to the local government of Cebu City.
“Actually it came to my knowledge pero nalimtan nako kay nakadawat man lang ko’g copy furnished sa information nga gipahibalo, gisulatan ang Cebu City nga nia ni sila moanhi mag conduct ana nga trials,” said Bernadas.
(Actually, it came to my knowledge but I forgot about it because I received a furnished copy of the information informing me that they had written the Cebu City government that they would come to Cebu City to conduct those trials.)
He, however, said that he only found out recently that the company had already conducted its WestVac vaccine trials without passing through DOH-7.
“I was waiting nga moanhi sila, wala man sila kaanhi sa ako, so nalimtan nako na siya. Until nga dunay nakabalita nga mao na. So akong gipa verify so mao na diay to siya,” he said.
When asked about any details regarding the trials, Bernadas said that he had no information, stressing that it was the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) who was privy to knowledge concerning the matter.
It can be recalled that the Cebu City government expressed concern over the COVID-19 vaccine conducted among residents in at least five barangays, which include Labangon, Basak San Nicolas, Basak Pardo, and Inayawan.
Residents were allegedly screened in a private hospital in the city and were inoculated with WestVac vaccine once they passed.
Each individual was also reportedly paid P2,500 to P5,000 to get inoculated.
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