PH won’t get COVID-19 vaccine from China, Russia for free – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — The vaccine against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) developed in China and Russia will not come in the Philippines for free, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night, adding that the government would borrow funds, if needed, for buy the vaccine.
In a televised speech, Duterte again thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jingping for their offer to prioritize the Philippines once their vaccines had been developed.
However, the President said the country would have to pay for the vaccines.
“This is not for free for, after all, they did not develop the vaccine without great expense and also the human effort involved. We will buy that,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“But if it is quite expensive, then I will ask my friend, President Putin and President Xi Jinping to give us credit, like a debt. But we will pay — not in one payment but in installment,” he added. “What I am saying is we will pay because this is not for free.”
Last week, Duterte said Russia might give the Philippines its COVID-19 vaccine for free.
He even volunteered to be the first one to be injected with the vaccine to prove its safety and efficacy against the coronavirus that had already afflicted over 21 million people worldwide.
The Philippines will play host to Phase 3 of the 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.
Duterte also previously thanked China for its promise to give priority to the Philippines once it had developed a vaccine for the coronavirus.
As of Monday, the Philippines has a total of 164,474 COVID-19 cases, including 112,759 recoveries and 2,681 deaths.
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