By Junex Doronio
MANILA — BELIEVING THAT THE ONLY SOLUTION to the pandemic is a proper and working vaccine, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has revealed that senators have agreed to allocate additional funding under the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 to procure vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as well as a storage facility where they can be placed.
“Pumayag po kami na dagdagan pa muli ang budget na inilagay ng HOR (House of Representatives) para merong pondo pambili ng bakuna kasama storage at distribution,” Zubiri said but did not state the amount of additional funding the senators have agreed upon.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Zubiri said all senators agreed to put more funding in their version of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for Covid-19 vaccines and cold storage.
“We are adding budget for vaccination program. Baka mahuli po tayo, at kapag nahuli tayo, apektado ang ekonomiya natin. Kaya ‘yan ay dapat priority sa budget,” Zubiri explained.
It was learned that some P2.5 billion has initially been allocated under the proposed 2021 budget for Covid-19 vaccine procurement.
Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, said there are at least five potential vaccines that have so far been submitted for possible clinical trials in the Philippines.
These are Sinovac from China, Janssen, Sputnik V from Russia, Clover Biopharmaceuticals, and AstraZeneca.
However, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has approved China’s Sinovac beating Russia’s Sputnik V and three other vaccines seeking clinical trials in the country.
“Ito ay ini-evaluate natin ngayon at mukhang kaunting panahon na lang naman siguro at may ibang requirement na lang ang hinihingi natin para ma-approve natin ang clinical trial na ‘to,” Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General and Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said at a public briefing last Thursday. (AI/MTVN)