As soon as a vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is available, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would want the government to purchase doses right away.
“(Pag) nakahanap na sila, kailangan may pera ako niyan kasi bili kaagad tayo (Once they have developed one, we need to have money because we would purchase it immediately),” Duterte said in a taped public address aired late Tuesday night.
He said since many countries are on the verge of developing a vaccine, he was hopeful that one would be available by early 2021.
“Malapit na sila sa vaccine (They’re close to developing a vaccine). I’m sure that they have made a lot of progress in finding the vaccine,” he said.
Duterte expressed optimism over news that clinical trials for an experimental vaccine being developed by US biotech company Moderna, Inc. were showing promising early results.
“A pharmaceutical called Moderna… I don’t know what is the legal residence of this corporation, but mayroon na silang (but they have) tests showing positive results,” he said.
If the vaccine is successful by 2021, it would provide many Filipinos with immunity against the disease, the President said.
Meanwhile, Duterte reiterated that the public is still at risk of catching Covid-19 amid the relaxed quarantine protocols being implemented in different parts of the country.
“Hanggang hindi ka matusukan ng vaccine (Until you get injected with the vaccine), you are still in danger. And even if you are really vaccinated, you are still put at risk if you are not really careful. The corona(virus) will not disappear. It is here for all time,” he said.
Duterte also urged parents to get their children vaccinated for 25 debilitating or life-threatening diseases, such as tetanus and diphtheria.
“Mayroon pang iba sa probinsya na ayaw ipabakuna ’yung ang mga anak ninyo. Kindly, lahat kayong mga nanay, pati tatay, see to it that your children are vaccinated (There are those in the provinces who still do not want to get their kids immunized. To all mothers and fathers, kindly see to it that your children are vaccinated),” he said.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured that the national government is ready to implement an immunization plan should a Covid-19 vaccine roll out in the future.
He explained that a plan has been in place, not just for existing vaccines but also in anticipation of a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 infection.
Currently, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for Covid-19. However, there are ongoing clinical trials to investigate the safety and efficacy of new and existing drugs, such as anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-malarial agents, in the treatment of patients. (PNA)