The Department of Health warned that no vaccine against the coronavirus disease has been approved yet after reports that two lawmakers have already been inoculated against COVID-19.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded the public that there is still no approved COVID-19 vaccine registered with the country’s Food and Drug Administration following reports that Senator Panfilo Lacson and House of Representatives Majority Leader Martin Romualdez had allegedly received COVID-19 vaccine shots.
Vergeire stressed that the DOH understood that everyone is excited to receive vaccine shots because we want this situation to end, but this is not the right way to go.
Encouraging results from vaccine trials of pharmaceutical firms bolstered hopes that the world can return to some form of normalcy. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have already sought emergency use approval from US health authorities after announcing its vaccine was 96% effective. Moderna claims its vaccine is 94.5% effective and expects to apply with the EU for its vaccine soon.
The DOH earlier urged the public to temper their vaccine hopes and advised the people to continue observing preventive health measures. It also issued a warning against companies manufacturing, supplying and distributing unregistered COVID-19 vaccines that they will face sanctions.
Everyone is understandably excited with the positive news in vaccine development. In a country where President Rodrigo Duterte has essentially pinned all hopes of any recovery on a vaccine for COVID-19, people are closely monitoring news related to the possibility of a vaccine reaching our shores and it would be tempting for anyone offered access to vaccines that may not yet be locally available. However, we have to allow government to properly screen, approve and regulate these vaccines if and when they do become widely accessible.
As we wait for the silver bullet that will hopefully restore life to some sort of normal, let us not jump too early but instead, let us constantly pressure our government officials to pick up the pace and fast track the approval, acquisition, and distribution of the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccines.