The government can still procure Covid-19 vaccines from US-based pharmaceutical firm Moderna and other vaccine manufacturers even with the absence of local clinical trials, a health official said Wednesday.

In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said procurement is possible after the vaccines have undergone the country’s regulatory process and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ang Moderna nakausap na sila ng Department of Science and Technology [DOST] about a month ago and ang kanila talagang intent is not to have a clinical trial in the Philippines but they would want na dun na sila papasok sa (Moderna had a talk with the DOST about a month ago and their intent was not to have a clinical trial in the Philippines but they would want to enter the) vaccine procurement,” Vergeire said.

On Monday, Moderna announced that its experimental Covid-19 vaccine was found almost 95 percent effective. Moderna’s clinical trial included more than 30,000 participants.

The drugmaker Pfizer also announced Wednesday that its Covid-19 vaccine was 95 percent effective and had no serious side effects — the first set of complete results from a late-stage vaccine trial.

“But if they (Moderna) do not intend, hindi po naman makakapag-stop sa gobyerno para mag-procure tayo (this won’t stop our government from procuring) as long as they will go through the regulatory process,” Vergeire said.

She added it is important for the government to see the vaccine’s effects in its Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 clinical trials and for the local vaccine experts to evaluate the vaccine before it gets approved by the FDA.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the number of patients who have recovered from coronavirus is 374,666 from the total 412,097 confirmed cases while 7,957 have died from the disease. (PNA)