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Beware of unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines — DOH

The Department of Health (DoH) warned the public against using unregistered coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines after reports surfaced that unauthorized vaccinations were being done locally.

In a briefing on Friday, DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said that these unregistered vaccines “could do more harm than good” especially since no COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We cannot guarantee its safety or if it will be efficacious,” she said.

This came after reports of an anonymous businessman revealed underground vaccinations of the unregistered vaccines were being done in Metro Manila.

By law, any vaccine introduced to the market or used for the public must be approved by the FDA to ensure its safety. FDA regulation applies to food, drugs, household products, among others.

Vaccine manufacturers around the world are racing to roll out a vaccine against COVID-19, which has sickened millions globally and affected world economies.

On the other hand, China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is close to securing its approval to conduct phase 3 clinical trials locally for its COVID-19 vaccine. Department of Science and Technology (DoST) Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said, “I think they are only short of one item with the FDA.”

Other vaccine makers who have applied locally to hold their clinical trials locally were Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology; Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; and Clover Biopharmaceuticals.

Meanwhile, Ms. Guevara said that the DoST is preparing to join the World Health Organization’s solidarity trials for COVID-19 vaccines. Local trial sites are waiting for WHO protocols and the list of candidate vaccines that will be used during the trials. — Gillian M. Cortez

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