‘Just maybe shut up‘ about CoronaVac, Duterte tells Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo should “just maybe shut up” about the CoronaVac vaccine if she could not say anything helpful about it, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday in his weekly pre-recorded briefing as he accused her of creating doubts over the vaccines.
Duterte was referring to Robredo’s backing the call of some health workers for the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to review CoronaVac, the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac BioTech.
The HTAC, an advisory body created under the Universal Health Care Act, reviews the cost and the ethical and community impact of health technologies — such as medicines, vaccines, or health devices — that will be introduced to the public.
“She did not read the law that says the HTAC is just recommendatory. Now, we are fighting because time is of the essence. We were fighting against the tide of nonbelievers. Let’s not be afraid,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“Instead of the Vice President helping, she muddled up everything, creating an uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the people,” he added.
“I hope next time, if she has nothing good to say, she just maybe shut up… I did not get irritated [napikon]. I got angry at you because I said: What is this? Time is running out to convince people,” he went on.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was also present at Mondya’s meeting with Duterte, said the HTAC had already given CoronaVac a positive recommendation.
“What I was told was that to buy Sinovac they needed to give their positive recommendation — which they did. We will be paying for it based on the supply agreement,” Duque said, speaking partly in Filipino.
The Philippines has received 600,000 doses of CoronaVac as a donation by the Chinese government, which were used by the government to start its vaccination rollout.
A million more doses of CoronaVac procured by the national government are expected to be delivered on March 21.
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