Wed. May 19th, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte defended on Tuesday night vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) developed by Chinese pharmaceutical companies, saying these are as good as those developed by Western firms.

FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his fourth State of the Nation address at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

“The vaccine that Secretary Galvez is buying is as good as any other vaccines invented by the Americans or the Europeans. The Chinese do not lack brains. The Chinese are bright,” Duerte said, speaking partly in Filipino in a taped speech, referring to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementor of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“And they would not venture if it’s not sufficient — if it’s not safe, sure and secure. Those three: It must be safe, sure and secure. That is the guarantee,” he added.

Duterte made the statement after the government secured a deal with China’s Sinovac Biotech for the supply of 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines of which the initial batch will arrive in the Philippines next month. However, Sinovac has yet to get an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Latest tests in Brazil show Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine has an efficacy of slightly above 50 percent.

Beside Sinovac, the other Chinese pharmaceutical company that is eyeing to supply Covid-19 vaccines to the Philippines is state-owned Sinopharm. SOVEREIGNPH

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