PH, India firm to explore local Covid vaccine production

A medical worker prepares a syringe with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Brussels, as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in Belgium, February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

The government is negotiating with Serum Institute of India (SII) to study the possibility of local production of vaccines in the Philippines, National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday.

Galvez, also the vaccine czar, said one of the topics tackled during his recent trip to India was the possibility of reviving the local vaccine production in the Philippines.

We also spoke with the Serum Institute of India to study the possibility of reviving our country’s capability to produce its own vaccine,” Galvez said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.

He said the Philippines used to have the capacity to produce vaccine as it donated vaccines to China in 1938.

Galvez said the SII, considered the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is willing to assist the Philippines to produce its own vaccine.

“The SII has 136 scientists and they want to help us produce our own vaccines,” he said.

He said once the country regains its vaccine production capability, it would ensure a steady supply of vaccines during health crisis like the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

These steps are part of the government’s aggressive strategies to sustain a stable and reliable source of anti-Covid vaccines and totally end the pandemic,” Galvez said.

He added the Philippines is also working with the SII “not only for the containment of disease but also to push disease elimination by 2022.”

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) also presented a three-year program for the expansion of its vaccine research and development, he said.

“It will require an economy of scale investment. This is really for us to have a definitive source of vaccines,” he added.

On Tuesday, Galvez announced the Philippines has signed a supply agreement with the SII for the acquisition of 30 million doses of the Novavax vaccine.

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