A Catholic bishop in the Philippines called for prudence in the issue of the new COVID-19 vaccine.
“We need prudence too as to whether it is really the right medicine or the right time to administer it,” said Bishop Oscar Florencio, vice chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care of the bishops’ conference.
He said “one should not just reason out emergency cases” because “we have been already in the emergency times.”
The prelate said the dignity of a person should be given paramount importance when dealing with something that will affect the lives of people.
“Anything that should be given or applied should be in the view of healing not just to be experimentation, otherwise it will degrade the dignity,” said Bishop Florencio.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order this week granting the Food and Drug Administration the power to clear COVID-19 drugs and vaccine for emergency use.
The Philippines wants to start immunizing 25 million people next year against the coronavirus, hoping to restore some normalcy after nearly nine months of at times harsh restrictions, and prevent the economy from sinking deeper into recession.
The FDA can now grant emergency use authorization (EUA) if there is reason to believe the drug or vaccine may be effective in preventing, diagnosing or treating COVID-19 and if their potential benefits outweigh possible risks.
EUAs shall also be issued if there is “no adequate, approved and available alternative to the drug or vaccine”.
The national procurer or the public health program implementer can apply for the EUA, said the order.
The Philippines, which has the second most number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, is racing to lock in vaccine supplies as it targets to immunize a third of it 108 million population.
The Philippines has been in talks with at least four vaccine makers about supply deals and has so far secured more than two million COVID-19 shots from AstraZeneca.
The British drugmaker’s vaccine still has to be approved by regulators. – with a report from Reuters