Waiting is suicidal in race to get COVID-19 vaccine
Every country is looking to provide itself with enough vaccines, shore up extra doses for eventualities, and be ahead of others. This is selfish, perhaps, but the reality is that it looks like it’s becoming to each his own. It is better for a country to be assured of not running out of vaccines until the 85-percent herd immunity is achieved, than be nitpicking and speculating on the vaccines’ efficacy. It would be naive to think political alliances are not going to be set aside for one’s own domestic priorities. The hesitation by our own leadership in getting vaccines soonest will be very costly to the nation in terms of lives lost and damage to the economy.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health cannot wait for the vaccine suppliers to come to our doorstep to submit the documents we require, especially with major countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China already vaccinating their people en masse. If there are doubts about a vaccine’s applicability to the Philippine environment, that should be resolved by our epidemiologists and scientists in the soonest possible time, by consulting with the FDA of these countries and with guidance from the World Health Organization.
Time is not on our side. The suppliers have enough problems meeting the huge demand for their products to worry about our documentation requirements. This is not an encouragement for haphazard shortcuts on the vaccine, but to point out that there could be room for initiative with practical, reasonable scientific reliance by our FDA on the opinions of their peers in First World countries, because of the emergency we all are facing.
Marvel K. Tan,
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