Phl has no budget for COVID-19 vaccine

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III revealed that the country  has no  budget to develop its own  vaccines that would need billions and billions of pesos which the Philippine government cannot afford.  

Speaking in an interview over DZMM, Duque said developing the country’s  own vaccines to address usual ilnesses in the country would entail huge budget.  

Because of this, he said the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) will have to get the needed vaccines from rich countries with capacity to develop vaccines. 

He said it is also a cost effective way instead of developing our own which needs billions of budget.  

Duque said the  vaccines in the Philippines are all imported.  

“They are much cheaper due to the volume discount and global suppliers,” said the Health chief.  

He debunked reports that developing countries or those belonging to the 3rd World are being sidestepped in the distribution of vaccines.  

He said big companies are mandated to lead in developing vaccines like those for coronavirus. He cited the start of a research in China which developed the anti-viral drug which could be an effective treatment against the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.  

Based  on experience on measles and polio vaccimes, Duque said there was already a  global projection on those who will need them.  

But the problem, he said, although vaccines will be developed today, they are not sure if they will still be effective a year later due to the mutation.

“So there is a need to be very active in research and follow  the mutation trend of the vaccines…adjust to mutation.”  

Duque further welcomed  the idea of seeking the help of big companies to have seed capital in order to bankroll further  research in possible development of vaccines for infectious diseases.  

He is also open to the idea of creating creating  a center for disease control and prevention.  

“I will support to have separate center for disease  control. China, they have one. We have here (DOH) Disease Prevention and Control Bureau (DPCB) which can be expanded,” he said.  

He said DPCB can join the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)  to strengthen and to be more coordinated. This would centralize the system for disease control and prevention  program and intervention./Stacy Ang

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