Duterte to Chinese envoy: Just send Sinovac, not Sinopharm, vaccines to PH
MANILA, Philippines — After being criticized for getting inoculated with Sinopharm vaccine, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that he had asked Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to stop sending that brand of COVID-19 vaccine to the country.
In his speech, Duterte said he has asked Huang to just send Sinovac vaccines to the country.
“Here’s a deal. I told the ambassador that Sinopharm was criticized for not going through an examination. I said: Just remove it. You withdraw all Sinopharm vaccines — 1,000 of them,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“Stop sending Sinopharm here so that there would be no fuss. I said: Just give us Sinovac, which is being used by everyone,” he went on.
Duterte added: “Sinopharm may be gone maybe tomorrow or the following day. I made it as a personal request. Now, what was injected in me, I said it’s the decision of my doctor. And all things [having been] said, this is my life.”
The president was inoculated with Sinopharm on Monday, May 3, even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not given that vaccine an emergency use authorization (EUA).
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, however, that Duterte’s inoculation was done by “virtue of the compassionate special permit (CSP).”
Duque said the shot administered to Duterte was part of the 1,000 Sinopharm doses granted with the same CSP for use of the president’s security detail.
A vaccine evidence assessment released by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (Sage) on Immunization on April 29 said it was “very confident” that the Sinopharm — or the BBIBP-CorV — could effectively prevent COVID-19 in people from 18 to 59 years old.
But Sage said it had a “low level of confidence” in the inactivated virus vaccine in preventing the disease in adults 60 years old and above.
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