Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. (PNA image file)

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has presented its proposal to the Philippine government as the country bids to secure a supply of vaccine from foreign manufacturers, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Saturday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said top officials from the American drug firm gave its proposal during a meeting with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña on Friday. However, she did not reveal any details of the talks.

“The Philippines, through the Secretary of Health and the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, talked with them regarding this. There will be an initial review.  So we don’t have a final agreement yet with Pfizer,” she said in Filipino during the Laging Handa briefing.

She noted that both parties are working on a confidentiality disclosure agreement for transparency.

“Once this is finalized, we will be discussing the arrangement with them,” she said.

Representatives from the DOH on Friday also met virtually with the Russian embassy in Manila to discuss an upcoming meeting between the government and Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, the developer of Moscow’s candidate vaccine Sputnik V.

The meeting is scheduled “next week or the week after”, Vergeire said.

Russia is the first country to approve a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, a move met with initial skepticism from the international community. At the time of its approval on August 11, the vaccine has not started the crucial phase 3 clinical trial.

Based on Sputnik V’s website, the “post-registration clinical trials” began on August 24 involving more than 40,000 people in Russia. A number of countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and possibly India or Brazil will join the clinical trials of Sputnik V locally, it added. (PNA)