THE Philippines and Colombia will be the first two countries to take part in the World Health Organization Solidarity vaccine trials, an official of the National Task Force on COVID-19 (NTF) said Wednesday.
NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said around 15,000 volunteers will participate in the trials.
“Excited po talaga ang mga taga-Metro Manila dahil ang target po ay15,000 people from Metro Manila (Most of those in Metro Manila are excited because we are targeting around 15,000 volunteers in the capital),” he said in a Laging Handa briefing. He, however, did not say whether the target number of volunteers have been reached.
WHO Western Pacific coordinator Dr. Socorro Escalante said the trial is expected to begin within the month.
“WHO has been targeting around this month to start the pilot of the clinical trial. This is a very complex clinical trial so they have been ensuring that the vaccines that will be selected will be available bago mag-start (before they start) and (that) all the protocols and the sites for the clinical trial are really in place,” she told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Escalante, meanwhile, declined to identify what vaccine products would be tested in the Philippines.
“We cannot identify now because we are waiting for the headquarters to publish the list of vaccines that will be part,” she said.
Escalante said the WHO Solidarity trials in the Philippines will inoculate “adult volunteers and healthy individuals“.
The Philippines was among the first countries selected for the initiative after passing the criteria set by the UN organization, she added.
“One of the most important criteria is where the transmission of the virus is ongoing that’s why the Philippines and Colombia were first selected in the applicants… Pangalawa is ‘yong readiness ng ating mga institutions (The second one is the readiness of institutions in the Philippines),” she said. Philippine News Agency