Duterte OKs advanced payment for COVID-19 vaccines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Presidential Communications Operations Office)

President Rodrigo Duterte allowed the advanced payments for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine which has raised hopes that it can protect high-risk groups, particularly adults in their 60s and 70s.

The Philippine president also approved the Emergency Use Authority (EUA) to speed up vaccine distribution,  his spokesperson Harry Roque said in a briefing Thursday.

The EUA will allow the vaccines to be used locally after 21 days, down from the ongoing required 6-month verification.

Roque added that Duterte accepted the proposal of vaccine czar Carlito Galvez to pay private vaccine developers ahead of time to make sure that the Philippines will receive their supply of the drug.

Kapag hindi po tayo pumayag, baka mangulelat tayo doon sa mga bansa na makakakuha ng vaccine [If we don’t pay in advance, we will be left out as other countries will be supplied with vaccines],” Roque said.

Roque clarified that the president has yet to issue an Executive Order for the emergency vaccine use, but assured that he will in due time.

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. already assured the Philippines it will provide the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines. The firm claimed their vaccine was 95% effective in an initial study during the third phase of its clinical trials.

Pharmaceutical company Moderna also reported that their experimental COVID-19 vaccine it manufactured was 95% effective as well, based on interim data from a late-stage trial.