Russia’s “Sputnik V” Covid-19 vaccine will start local clinical trials by October, Malacañang announced Thursday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said results of Phases 1 and 2 of the vaccine tests would be reviewed by a panel in September.

Phase 3 of tests, which aims to administer the vaccine to a large controlled population to record possible adverse effects, would be conducted alongside Russia from October 2020 to March 2021.

The vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, is expected to be registered under the Food and Drug Administration by April 2021.

Malacañang’s timeline set President Rodrigo Dutete’s vaccination on May 1, 2021.

Duterte earlier volunteered to be injected with the first vaccine doses to remove the public’s fears over “Sputnik V.”

Health experts have expressed concern that the Russian vaccine was being rushed.

Roque said Covid-19 vaccines from other countries could be developed first as some had already started with Phase 3 of trials.

“Sabihin na lang natin na ito naman pong Gamaleya vaccine is only one. Marami na pong mga vaccine na nasa third phase na of clinical trials. So baka mayroon naman pong mauna pa dahil itong Gamaleya ay sisimulan pa lang ang third phase,” he said during a Palace briefing.

Roque said the possibility of a “Covid-free December” remained on the horizon.

“Puwede po dahil alam ko po iyong sa Tsina, sa Oxford at sa Amerika, nasa third phase na po sila ng clinical trial.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro