US COVID-19 vaccine makers didn't ask for conditions from Philippines — DOH
In this file photo Dr. Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, lifts a vial with a potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19.
AFP/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
US COVID-19 vaccine makers didn't ask for conditions from Philippines — DOH
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - September 11, 2020 - 12:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — American drugmakers did not ask the Philippine government for any conditions in exchange for possible access to coronavirus vaccines being developed in the United States, the Department of Health said Friday.

“We have had discussions already with manufacturers from US. No conditions were provided or given for us,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual forum Friday.

This, after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte likely granted absolute pardon to US soldier Joseph Scott Pemberton to help the country gain access to COVID-19 vaccines being developed by American pharmaceutical firms.

Although he insisted he was expressing his personal opinion, Roque said Thursday that the chief executive’s move to grant pardon to the US solder was part of his desire for the country to benefit from a vaccine that US drugmakers might develop.

The United States is among the countries leading the global race in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Vergeire stressed that all potential COVID-19 vaccines will undergo the regulatory process in the Philippines.

“Like what we always say, all the vaccines entering the country have to go through our regulatory process to ensure they are safe, effective against COVID-19 and they will benefit the population,” she said in Filipino.

Early this week, Duterte granted absolute pardon to Pemberton, effectively rendering moot the court proceedings opposing the release order of the American convict through the Good Conduct and Time Allowance law. He said the soldier was treated unfairly by authorities.

The Philippines is in talks with different vaccine developers worldwide as it seeks to source a COVID-19 vaccine to fight Southeast Asia’s worst outbreak.

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