DOH Undersecretary Enrique D. Domingo administers the ceremonial measles vaccination to an elementary school student of Sta. Rosa Elementary School Central III during the launching of the “Back to Bakuna: School-Based Immunization Program for CALABARZON in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna with Provincial Health Team Leader Dr. Gigi G. Janairo (center), Family Health Unit Head Dr. Felices Emerita P. Perez (left) and DOHO and the student’s guardian (right) held on July 25, 2019 (Photo from Glen Ramos, DOH Region IV-A)

Filipinos may be able to get their hands on Covid-19 vaccines by March, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo said because the United Kingdom had granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer and Moderna-produced Covid-19 vaccines with the United States expected to follow suit, it might not be long until the companies reached out to the Philippines for supply talks.

“So ibig sabihin po nito, itong mga kumpanya na ito kapag sila ay na-approve na sa Amerika, o sa UK, maaaring naghahanda na rin po sila ng pag-a-apply sa iba-ibang bansa katulad ng Pilipinas,” Domingo said in a Palace briefing,

“So, kapag nag-apply po sila dito sa atin, then maaari pong by first few weeks of January mayroon na rin po tayong maibigay na EUA at baka po mapaaga nang kaunti, baka magkaroon ng chance na mga March eh magkaroon na ng bakuna dito sa Pilipinas,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier authorized the FDA to issue EUAs for Covid-19 drugs and vaccines to be used in the Philippines, which would allow vaccines to be approved for use in the Philippines within 21 days instead of the six-month frame without the authorization.

However, Dominguez said securing vaccine doses would be a different story.

“Talagang ang magiging depende na lang po doon sa production kung mayroon na mailalaan na supply para sa Pilipinas at maidi-deliver agad dito sa atin para po ma-distribute natin. Iyon pong approval, siyempre po mauuna po iyon, and then iyon na lang po talagang logistics and the delivery and distribution,” he explained.

Both Moderna and Pfizer have reported more than 90-percent effectivity rates of their respective Covid-19 vaccines in late-stage clinical trials. John Ezekiel J. Hirro