MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday announced that China would donate an additional 400,000 doses of Sinovac-made CoronaVac vaccines to the Philippines.
China earlier donated an initial 600,000 doses of CoronaVac which arrived in the country on Sunday.
“China would give us another 400(000), making their donation to this country 1 million,” he said in a speech during the inauguration of two school buildings in Valenzuela City.
Duterte did not give further details about the additional 400,000 CoronaVac vaccine doses to be donated by Beijing.
On Monday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 1 million more doses of Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac will arrive this March under a PHP700-million purchase deal.
This is expected to boost the country’s current vaccine supply.
Sinovac's CoronaVac is the third Covid-19 vaccine brand after Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.
To date, at least 9,077 Filipinos have received CoronaVac in 32 vaccination sites in Metro Manila, three days after the country launched its immunization program against Covid-19.
All vaccine recipients were fine, except for at least 20 individuals who experienced "minor and common" adverse effects such as headaches, nausea, rashes, muscle pain, and high blood pressure.
Duterte is expected to witness the arrival of 487,200 doses of the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday night.
In the same speech, Duterte again said he would not force anyone, especially frontline medical workers, to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
“For those of you who would opt to take that vaccine (AstraZeneca), fine with me. Wala sa akin ‘yan (It’s nothing). Others might prefer other brands,” he said.
Duterte said he personally preferred to be injected with a Covid-19 vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm.
“Ang akin is Sinopharm, China. Hindi masyado ako maano dyan sa produkto ng puti (Mine is Sinopharm, China. I’m not too keen about products manufactured by whites),” he said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte will wait for Sinopharm to be cleared for emergency use before he subjects himself to vaccination.
The Food and Drug Administration granted Duterte's close-in security detail a compassionate permit for the use of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine last month. (PNA)