The government targets to immunize an initial 20 million Filipinos once the vaccine for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is available in the country, National Policy against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday.
Galvez said the government has formed a task group on vaccination composed of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Health (DOH).
Galvez noted that President Rodrigo Duterte prioritizes the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country.
There are vaccine developers who are now conducting Phase 3 of clinical trial which potentially treats the dreaded disease, he said.
Among the 20 million individuals to initially get the Covid-19 vaccines are front-liners and those in vulnerable sectors.
However, Galvez said Duterte wants to vaccinate all Filipinos against the respiratory disease.
“At the recent meeting that we had—last Wednesday, he wanted all Filipinos to be vaccinated and he said he will find the money,” said Galvez during the visit of the Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team, led by the National Task Force (NTF) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) at the Thunderbird Resort Poro Point, San Fernando City, La Union.
The country is now planning for the ‘quadrant’ trials, he said.
“The most probable trials [will be held] before the end of the year and the earliest vaccination will be in March while the latest is May 2021,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the NTF is now preparing for the huge logistic requirement of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The government is also working to establish various cold chain warehousing services for the vaccine storage, Galvez said.
Galvez added the government is also conducting some sort of simulation for the vaccination process.
Of the 20 million people, Galvez said each person will get two shots of the Covid-19 vaccine, making it 40 million shots, initially.
The government targets to run a pre-trial vaccination in the country, Galvez said.
“We wanted to see the volume of preparation if we will have that 20 million [vaccines],” he said.
Under Phase 3, the critical stage of the clinical trial, thousands of patients have to be inoculated with the potential vaccine to test its safety and efficacy.
He said the Phase 3 clinical trial is usually known as the final step before approval for the mass rollout.
Galvez said all major hospitals in the country will be part of the inoculation for the vulnerable sectors such as elders, pregnant women, those with comorbidities as well as people residing in communities listed as Covid-19 “high risk.” (PNA)