By Teddy Cambosa

As the vaccine rollout in the Philippines is slowly pacing across key parts of the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Philippines has shown its support for an upcoming study to test if a ‘mix-and-match’ strategy of COVID-19 vaccines, meaning different brands can be used for the first and second doses.

Image by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

Titled ‘A study evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of mixing different COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine platforms in Filipino adults’, said study will be led by Dr. Michelle De Vera of the Philippine Society for Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (PSAAI). Said study will be funded by DOST.

According to the initial premise and objective of the study, the safety and immunogenicity of completing the vaccination series from the available COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines will be evaluated for those given Sinovac as the first dose due to the fact that said vaccine has been the most prominent and stable supply of vaccine in the country.

In terms of the study sites, the needed information for the Filipino population will be generated from eight proposed study sites and these are: Antipolo or Marikina City, Manila, Pasig City, Makati or Pasay City, Muntinlupa City, Quezon City, Cebu and Davao. Data that will be derived from the population will further clarify the unknowns related to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines.

DOST assured that they will obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) before the study’s commencement.

With the local clinical data to be generated from the Filipino people on said study can serve as the basis for guidelines/policies and what vaccines/vaccine platforms can be mixed, which may be applied by the Department of Health (DOH) for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). 

The relevant data generated may provide a basis for the guidelines/policies of the DOH on the vaccination roll-out especially during situations of limited vaccine supplies or vaccine shortage.

Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University.