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Philippines Plans to Expedite COVID-19 Vaccine Approvals

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Health workers perform a rapid test on a man at a parking lot that has been converted into an extension of the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Manila, Philippines on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
FILE PHOTO: Health workers perform a rapid test on a man at a parking lot that has been converted into an extension of the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Manila, Philippines on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

By Andreo Calonzo

The Philippines plans to cut the approval time for coronavirus vaccines already approved by other nations, fast tracking their emergency use among high-risk individuals in the Southeast Asian hotspot.

President Rodrigo Duterte will issue an order for the nation’s Food and Drug Administration to cut the approval process to three weeks from six months, his spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday. Duterte has also agreed to pay vaccine makers in advance after initially opposing it, Roque said, adding that the private sector has pledged to buy at least 1 million doses.

Philippine authorities earlier said the nation may join clinical trials for vaccines from Russia and China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. this year. The Philippines has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, with over 412,000 infections as of Wednesday.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.