Duterte support for Russian COVID-19 vaccine won’t affect experts’ review — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement of support and confidence in the safety and effectiveness of Russia’s Sputnik-V will not cloud local experts’ review of the COVID-19 vaccine, Malacañang gave assurance on Thursday.
“This (review) is conducted by scientists, not politicians. I think they will be following strict scientific protocols,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.
Many have already raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of Sputnik-V, which was developed by Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund in record time and was approved by Russian authorities despite a lack of conclusive human testing results.
The World Health Organization also urged that all vaccine candidates go through full stages of testing before being rolled out, with experts warning that vaccines that are not properly tested can cause harm in many ways — from harming health to creating a false sense of security or undermining trust in vaccinations.
However, Duterte expressed confidence about the vaccine’s safety which he projected to be ready by December.
“I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity,” Duterte said, addressing Russian President Vladimir, in a speech Monday night.
The 75-year-old Duterte even volunteered himself to be the first one to be “experimented” on using the vaccine when it arrives in the country.
Roque announced that that the Philippines will conduct Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
The human testing will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and Moscow.
Roque added that the vaccine may be registered with the Food and Drug Administration by April 2021.
Malacañang and the Department of Health earlier assured the public that the Russian vaccine will go through the country’s approval process to ensure that it is safe for public use.
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