Duterte expects China to unveil its vaccine ‘any day’ now

Published August 25, 2020, 7:18 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

China is expected to announce its potential coronavirus vaccine “any day,” President Duterte said in his public address aired Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City on August 24, 2020.

The President looked forward to the vaccine development initiated by China and Russia and tackled government’s plans to procure the medicine once available during a meeting with several Cabinet members in Davao City Monday. 

“Ang mauna, malapit na iyan. Ang China, any day would announce it,” Duterte said in his taped remarks aired on government television Tuesday. 

China has reportedly allowed the emergency use of an experimental coronavirus vaccine since late July. According to a Chinese health official, the experimental vaccine has reportedly been given to high-risk groups including health workers and border officials.  Zheng Zhongwei, head of the National Health Commission’s science and technology center, said in a recent interview with state broadcaster CCTV, the emergency use of the vaccine is regulated and monitored.

Russia earlier announced it has registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine and announced plans to share the supply with the Philippines. 

The President, in his latest remarks, urged the public to wait for the vaccines being developed by China and Russia.

“Ginagawa namin lahat. Hintayin na lang natin iyong bakuna. Mayroong medisina galing Japan pati itong Remdesivir pati Avigan, ito iyong pang ano lang — panglaban sa kung ano pa — ito iyong sa lagnat. Hindi ito iyong gamot (We are doing everything. let’s wait for the vaccine. There are medicines from Japan, including Remdesivir and Avigan. These can help fight the illness. But it’s not the cure),” he said.

“Ang gamot iyong vaccine. Ang vaccine ay gawa sa katawan ng tao. Malapit na iyan. Russia, China (The vaccine is the medicine. It is made from a person’s body. It is coming soon from Russia, China),” he added.

He said Russia and China have announced their willingness to help the country with the vaccine supply. “They are willing to help. Both countries have — lumabas ng statement that tulungan nila ako (they issued statement that they will help me),” he said.

Duterte admitted that it is still unclear if the vaccine supply will be free or not. But if the vaccine is not free, he said the government will look for funds, even borrow money, to purchase the vaccines.

Last week, the President disclosed plans to ask for a “credit line” from Russia and China to facilitate the country’s payment for the coronavirus vaccine if it is too expensive. 

When the supplies are available, Duterte said the government intends to buy the vaccines and distribute them for free to the the country’s poorest of the poor, soldiers, policemen, and those from the middle income families.