ACTING Mayor Michael Rama will lift the suspension on the clinical trial WestVac Biopharma Co. Ltd. is conducting on a Covid-19 vaccine in the city once they have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA).
Rama gave this condition Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, after company representatives visited him two days after he ordered a halt to the trial due to the company’s failure to coordinate with the City Government on the activity.
“The only way for them to proceed is with the memorandum of agreement approved by the City Council and the authority for me to sign the MOA,” Rama said.
During the courtesy call led by Dr. Jemala Anne Sanchez, member of the clinical trial’s team at the Perpetual Succour Hospital, they apologized to Rama.
Sanchez also apologized to the Cebu City Council.
“I would like to apologize. It is not our practice to inform the local government units (LGU) in any clinical trials that we have been conducting. We did not realize that it is also a public issue because it pertains to treating Covid and vaccines, so it was an oversight on our part,” Sanchez said.
Majority floor leader Raymond Garcia said it was now clear that WestVac did not inform the City about the clinical trial.
He questioned why the company did not enter into a MOA with the City Government when this is what should have been done as it involves the people of Cebu City.
“I accept, Sir. That was an oversight on our part... Everything in our team is trained, all subjects... all 20,000 subjects for the whole Philippines, they have their own insurance. It is included in the inform process,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said they had already enrolled 700 people to be vaccinated in their clinical trial for the Covid-19 vaccine.
She indicated low-grade fever, nausea and headache lasting one to two days as the common side effects of the vaccine.
She said the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Science and Technology and other government agencies had approved their clinical trial, which is being conducted in eight sites in the Philippines, including in Iloilo City, Palawan and Luzon.
WestVac is said to be able to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine, which would be of great help in this time of pandemic.
Garcia and Councilor Lea Japson explained that a MOA is important and that there was one during the launch of a vaccine against dengue a few years ago.
The City learned about the clinical trial after Councilor David Tumulak gave a privilege speech on it last Oct. 13. (PAC, CTL)