PH assured of priority in COVID vaccine

Published August 7, 2020, 11:50 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The Chinese government on Friday assured  the Philippines that it  will be considered as a priority in getting the vaccine against COVID-19.

“And the Philippines as a close neighbor and friendly neighbor of China we will consider Philippines the priority once we successfully developed our vaccines,” Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said during an interview over CNN Philippines.

Citing the telephone conversation with President Duterte, Huang said Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured that “once we developed the vaccines we will make it as global public goods and make it affordable and accessible to all countries in the world especially for developing countries and our neighbors.”

The ambassador said that according to scientists “it is likely that the vaccine could be developed by the end of this year or early next year.”

Among the 165 candidate vaccines listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the ambassador noted that six have entered the final stages of clinical trials including four from Chinese pharmaceutical companies.

“All the clinical trials are doing quite well,” he said.

“We are quite optimistic that the vaccines will be developed in the near future after the third phase clinical trial,” he added.

Of the four Chinese pharmaceutical companies, Huang said China National Biotec Group Co. Limited (CNBG) and Sinovac have been “engaging your government and institutions concerned for vaccine cooperation.”

The ambassador said the two Chinese firms started last June the last stages of the vaccine trials in the United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

 Huang assured China will continue to support Philippine efforts in fighting COVID-19.

“We have been doing every effort to help the Philippines after the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Philippines in return to reciprocate what you have done to help China earlier this year,” he said.

So far, he noted, China has donated 10 million sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) and turned over 130 ventilators with 50 more arriving.

“We try to guarantee that kind of sufficient supplies of medical goods,” he said.

“And, of course, at the same time we try to reinvigorate, revitalize our projects of cooperation in the Philippines so that they contribute to your efforts to restart your economy,” he added.

Huang believes the country is on the right track in combatting COVID-19.

“According to the assessment of the Chinese medical team who visited your country they feel that your measures are reasonable, comprehensive, and vigorous,” he said.

“We believe facing the challenge of COVID-19 the joint efforts of the people across this country you would be able to win over this fight, this battle at an early date,” he added.