MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte prefers to get inoculated with a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine developed by China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted another China-based drugmaker, Sinovac, an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccine.
However, the FDA said it does not recommend the use of the Sinovac vaccine for medical workers and senior citizens due to its lower efficacy rate.
“He has said na (that) his preference is for Sinopharm,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
In previous speeches, Duterte has repeatedly voiced out his preference for Covid-19 vaccines made in China or Russia.
On Feb. 11, Roque said Duterte has already decided which vaccine brand to receive but noted that he was not at liberty to announce it.
“I know of the decision of the President already. I can say that the President’s decision is consistent, but he prefers Chinese. But I am not at authority to make public that decision,” he said.
Roque earlier said Duterte sought his physician's opinion about which Covid-19 vaccine brand to get.
Last week, Roque confirmed that Duterte has finally agreed to get vaccinated for Covid-19 in public after initially announcing his preference to have it done in private.
He also appealed to the public not to criticize officials should they be the first to receive Covid-19 shots.
China approved the Sinopharm vaccine for general public use last December after the developer said the vaccine showed 79.34 percent efficacy based on an interim analysis of late-stage clinical trials. That rate is lower than the 86 percent rate for the same vaccine reported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Different efficacy results for the vaccine separately released in China and in UAE are both real and valid, according to Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
The Philippines aims to vaccinate around 50 million to 70 million Filipinos this year. (PNA)