HOUSE Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo on Friday called for support for the local production of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccines “as the fastest way of achieving herd immunity in our country and around the world.”
“Let’s support the initiative to produce these vaccines locally. This would be a game changer in fighting the pandemic, hastening economic recovery and returning to normal life,” Castelo said.
Castelo said the country would not lack patriotic businessmen to invest in the domestic manufacture of vaccines.
“Manny Pangilinan has expressed readiness to support this grand initiative. I am sure that the likes of Ramon Ang and the Ayalas would only be willing to join him,” she said.
She added that aside from hastening vaccination and herd immunity, domestic vaccine production “will also create jobs for many Filipinos.”
To start local vaccine production, Castelo stressed that international pharmaceutical companies would have to lift patent restrictions and share the results of their research and studies with the rest of the world.
She noted that US President Joe Biden has called for the waiver of COVID-19 jab patents to allow other countries to produce it and fight the pandemic in their territories.
“Let us share the call of the United States. These drug companies have by now already recouped their investments, with their numerous previous, present and future purchase orders. The markets show that these firms have grown immensely in value since they reported their vaccine research and development breakthroughs,” she said.
Castelo reminded drugmakers and countries opposing the vaccine patent waiver call that “no one is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe.”
“We have seen it. Super-spreader variants are finding their way to other nations even with stricter border controls. The pandemic has to be fought and controlled nationally and globally,” Castelo said.