Malacañang debunked reports that the COVID-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac was the most expensive in the market, saying it was given to the Philippines at a “BFF” (best friends forever) price.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement in light of apparent public anxiety and concern over the government’s decision to procure 25 million doses of Sinovac Vaccines, citing its low efficacy rate report of 50.4 percent in Brazil and its supposedly high rate of P3,629 for two doses.
While not revealing the actual price due to a non-disclosure agreement, Roque said in his Thursday presser thatreports about Sinovac’s vaccine being the most expensive in the market is just a ploy orchestrated by the government’s critics.
“Hindi po pinakamahal ang Sinovac, paninira lang po ng oposisyon ‘yan (The Sinovac vaccine is not the most expensive. That is just something the opposition started),” he said.
“Hindi rin po siya ang pangalawang pinaka mahal na bakunang na aangkatin natin. Kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, pangatlong pinakamahal lang po siya out of six brands (It’s not even the second most expensive vaccine that we will be buying. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the third out of six brands),” he added.
According to Roque, the Philippines was given a mid-range price fit for a “best friend.”
“I can assure you, nabigyan po tayo ng presyo na ukol lamang sa kanilang BFF (we were given a rate fit for a BFF),” he said.
Data from the office of Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate committee on finance, showed that two doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine are priced at P3,629. It is the second most expensive brand following Moderna which is priced at P3,904 to P4,504 for two doses.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is priced at only P610 for two doses. The said brand is involved in tripartite agreements between some local government units and the national government.