Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to get a shot of the new Russian vaccine as early as May 2021.
On Thursday, Harry Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman, declared that the Philippines are planning to start next October the clinical trials of the Russian coronavirus vaccine. Phase 3 clinical trials will run from October 2020 to March 2021.
Roque said that Phase 3 is expected to start after the experts will have completed a review on Russia’s first and second phase trials in September.
The Russian vaccine
Last Tuesday, Russia approved the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing.
The vaccine, which was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, will be named “Sputnik V” in honor of the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first satellite.
Philippine health authorities assured the population that the vaccine will have to pass strict regulatory tests before it will be used. According to Eric Domingo, Director General of the Food and Drug Administration, the Philippines’ government will be very careful regarding the approval of the Russian vaccine. “We have to make sure before we roll out a vaccine that it’s safe and effective,” he declared during an interview.
Domingo explained that Philippine officials have worked with Russian manufacturers and scientists who developed the vaccine to discuss the implementation of Phase 3 in the country.
“The Philippines is a good site for clinical trial because we know there is community transmission in many of our communities so you can select that area,” he said.
In an attempt to appease public fears, Duterte offered to be the first to get a vaccine shot. “When the vaccine arrives, I will inject it publicly. Experiment with me, that’s fine. If it works on me, it will work on everyone,” the President declared on Monday.
According to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, the new vaccine has proven to be efficient against the coronavirus. He emphasizes that the vaccine has already passed all the necessary tests and that Russia can ensure its efficiency and full safety. Putin added that one of his daughters has already been vaccinated and is now feeling well.
Duterte praised Russia for having developed a vaccine in a short time.
“I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity,” said Duterte. The Philippines’ President is confident that by December his country will be COVID-free.
The global scientific community has raised concerns about the Russian vaccine, in particular due to the speed of its development. The community fears that Russia’s national pride has compromised health and safety regulations.
Scientists are skeptical about Putin’s plans to produce the vaccine within October and supply it to the Philippines.
In the Philippines, another vaccination program had already failed back in 2017, when an anti-dengue immunization program was stopped due to safety concerns over the vaccine Dengvaxia.