|President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo from Presidential Communications Operations Office)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] MANILA — COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firms are as good as those made by western countries, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday as he defended the government’s seeming preference for China-made vaccines.
“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,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, in a taped speech. He was referring to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementor of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “And they wouldn’t 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,” Duterte added.
The Philippines has already secured 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, although it hasn’t applied for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its products at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Securing an EUA will allow a new vaccine to be administered in the country. CoronaVac, Sinovac’s candidate coronavirus vaccine, has also been criticized for having a relatively low efficacy rate compared to the vaccines developed by American companies Pfizer and Moderna and British drugmaker AstraZeneca.