The country’s Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) has yet to give its recommendation for the procurement of the Indian Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF), said the HTAC’s recommendation is required under the Universal Health Care Law and the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act.
The government’s negotiation with India’s Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, requires engagement with an “intermediary” or mediator, unlike the tripartite agreement with AstraZeneca and Moderna companies.
“The question is why do we have to go through intermediaries? It will create a lot of questions on the pricing because we involve more players. Parties involved are not transparent,” he said in a news release on Thursday partly in Filipino.
“So they’re signing a negotiation with local governments units and they’re asking for advance commitment that is not stated in the law. The NTF must be part of the negotiation),” Galvez added partly in Filipino.
Galvez said the Indian drugmaker announced it halted deliveries this year due to rising Covid-19 cases in its country.
The shipments will resume by next year.
In a previous interview, Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo reiterated all vaccine brands issued with emergency use authorization, including Covaxin, are safe and effective.
“The FDA assessment is for safety and efficacy. HTAC evaluates cost effectiveness,” Domingo said in news channel interview on Monday.