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Health technology assessment sought for Sinovac
Dans said there is no need to seek approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the technical review because the HTAC is mandated by law to evaluate. He explained that the FDA assesses mainly the safety and efficacy of vaccines while the HTAC review goes beyond health concerns.
AFP/STR

Health technology assessment sought for Sinovac

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After securing emergency use authorization (EUA), China’s Sinovac jab needs to undergo technical assessment and evaluation prior to vaccination, according to the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC).

“We are talking with Department of Health (DOH), Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and I think there is general agreement that even if it’s donated, it should undergo HTAC evaluation. (It’s) the second step,” HPACC member Antonio Dans said during an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News Wednesday night.

Dans said there is no need to seek approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the technical review because the HTAC is mandated by law to evaluate. He explained that the FDA assesses mainly the safety and efficacy of vaccines while the HTAC review goes beyond health concerns.

According to HPAAC, foreign donated technology during pandemics and emergencies must still undergo technical appraisal by HTAC in order to determine their clinical and economic value.

“Though we welcome this donation and eagerly await other forthcoming donations from the COVAX Facility and from other donor entities as well, we however would still ask our leaders to await the recommendations of the HTAC,” the HPAAC said.

Commercial use illegal

Meanwhile, a principal author of the newly passed Emergency Vaccine Procurement Act explained that vaccines to be purchased under the measure can’t be used for commercial purposes.

“Right now there is an abnormal supply situation, so if private entities will purchase, they can use it only for their employees for now and not sell it,” Quirino Rep. Junie Cua explained.

Cua pointed out that centralizing procurement of vaccines through the national government is the most efficient way of acquiring the jabs. And although the measure allows procurement and purchase of vaccines to forgo public bidding during a pandemic, these are still subject to an audit.

No blanket immunity

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the government can’t grant absolute and blanket immunity to vaccine manufacturers because “it is against the law and contrary to public policy.”

“Under the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act Congress passed last Feb. 22, COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are immune from suits for claims arising out of the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, but not for willful misconduct or gross negligence,” Drilon said.

Drilon explained that any vaccinee can file claims for damages, based on the vaccine manufacturers liabilities arising from willful misconduct and gross negligence.

The government recently allotted P500 million to compensate persons who may suffer adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, at a press briefing, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte cannot compel columnist and former special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo to cooperate in the investigation about the alleged use of smuggled COVID-19 shots.

“As far as Mon Tulfo is concerned, he clarified, he is no longer (a) special envoy to China. He is a private citizen so he can do as he pleases and the President is not in position to compel him to do anything, the President does not have subpoena powers,” Roque said.

Roque added that it would be up to the police to look into reports about the unauthorized use of vaccines developed by Chinese firm Sinopharm. – Edu Punay, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero

COVID-19 VACCINE SINOVAC
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