Only the national government can issue an emergency use authorization of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
A top official of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) said on Friday, January 15, that only the national government can issue an emergency use authorization of the approved coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines that it will procure and roll out throughout the country.
“What I know is that the EUA as its name suggests can only be issued by the national government which means only the national government can order the vaccines right now which in this case is Pfizer BioNTech, which the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved. Later on once the supplies have stabilized, then commercial authorization (can be issued by the FDA) that would result in a free-for-all (among local governments and the private sector in buying the vaccines),” said Dr. Gina Itchon, research and development department chief of NMMC during Friday noon’s City Hall’s COVID-19 response press briefing.
Dr. Itchon agreed with Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno’s position that the national government, through the Department of Health (DOH), should procure the COVID-19 vaccines to prevent bigger local governments from crowding out smaller local governments and monopolizing the acquisition of the vaccines.
City Health Office (CHO) resident epidemiologist Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya Jr. agreed with Dr. Itchon, saying that other factors should also be considered, such as availability, shelf life, and storage requirements of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Above all else, the vaccine’s safety and efficacy must be considered. There’s also the price, but safety and efficacy are priorities,” Dr. Retuya said.
Dr. Retuya said the Pfizer vaccines poses a logistical challenge since it requires ultra-cold storage of below 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. “Di nato ma-transport na sa bukid (we cannot transport that to the hinterlands),” Dr. Retuya said. (SC)
(Source: City Information Office)