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Go pushes vaccine institute 

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Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Saturday expressed support for the establishment of a vaccine institute that would enable the country to manufacture or even develop vaccines against future pandemics, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

“Suportado ko po ang kagustuhan ni Pangulong Duterte na magkaroon tayo ng vaccine institute sa Pilipinas na magbibigay ng kakayahan sa ating bansa na mag-develop at mag-produce ng sarili nating mga bakuna, hindi lamang laban sa Covid-19 kundi maging sa mga susunod pang pandemya (I support President Rodrigo Duterte's wish for the country to have a vaccine institute that could develop vaccines, not only for the coronavirus disease 2019 but even for future pandemics),” Go said.

He said it is better to be ready and be able to manufacture vaccines.

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“It is about time the country has that capability," he added.

Duterte on Tuesday expressed his desire to establish the country’s own vaccine institute as his “legacy” to Filipinos before his term ends in 2022.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has instructed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to allocate funds for the proposed vaccine institute.

“This is the instruction now that the DBM should have a substantial amount of funding available so we can establish a vaccine institute to enable us to manufacture our own vaccines,” Roque said during an online briefing.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), on the other hand, has welcomed the proposal, expressing hope that the President’s proposed institute would focus on vaccine development.

“We are pushing for the establishment of the Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) that has the development of vaccines as a major responsibility. I hope the President is referring to that,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña told members of the press.

Meanwhile, Go is looking forward to the vaccine institute addressing the country’s present inability to produce vaccines and other medicines for infectious diseases, among them Covid-19.

He also urged the government to invest in building local manufacturing capabilities to eventually veer away from the country’s reliance on the international market for vaccines.

“Napakalaki po ng potensyal ng ating bansa na mag-produce ng sarili nating mga gamot at bakuna laban sa samu’t saring mga sakit. Napapanahon na po upang pag-aralan natin kung papaano tayo magiging self-reliant pagdating sa aspetong ito (The country has great potentials to produce medicines and vaccines for various infectious diseases. It is high time we study how we could be self-reliant on this matter),” Go said. 

He urged the DOST, with the help of health experts, local pharmaceutical companies, private sector, and academe, to engage with international vaccine producers so that the government could immediately start manufacturing much-needed Covid-19 vaccines.

“This initiative will not only boost our local vaccine supply but can also help increase production of vaccines in the world market,” he said.

Despite the challenges faced by the government in purchasing Covid-19 vaccines, he assured that there would be no delay in the vaccine rollout as authorities are simply complying with the necessary processes, aligned with the agreed schedule, as negotiated with international partners.

Team Philippines, he said, "is and will remain focused on our goal of achieving herd immunity and lead our people towards full recovery.”

“Suportahan po natin ang ating gobyerno at magtiwala tayo sa bakuna. Ito po ang susi tungo sa pagbalik sa normal na pamumuhay. Huwag tayo matakot sa bakuna, matakot tayo sa Covid-19 dahil ito ang nakamamatay at ang bakuna ang solusyon sa sakit na ito (Let us support our government and trust the vaccine as this is the key to bring back normalcy. Don't be afraid of the vaccine. Be wary of Covid-19 as it is deadly, while the vaccine is the solution to it),” Go said. 


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