Duterte, Go to receive Chinese-donated Sinovac vaccines on Sunday

Published February 26, 2021, 9:11 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on  Friday said that he and President Duterte would personally witness the turnover ceremony of the first batch of China-made Sinovac vaccines slated to arrive in the country on Sunday, February 28.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The Sinovac vaccines, which are the country’s first batch of COVID-19 jabs and donated by China, consist of 600,000 doses. Some of them have been reserved for military personnel and civilian employees of the Department of National Defense (DND). 

Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said he and the President would welcome and receive the vaccines from China.

The vaccines are scheduled to arrive on February 28 at 5:00 p.m.

Relieved that the vaccines would make it before the month ends, Go said that the event would involve a simple turnover ceremony to be attended by Duterte. 

“Matagal na natin itong inaantay. Ako, as a legislator, talagang kinukulit ko po. Naawa na ako kina Vaccine Czar Secretary (Carlito) Galvez, Jr. at (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque. Halos araw-araw ko silang nire-remind. Sabi ko, ‘sir, inip na po ang ating mahal na Pangulo dahil kailangan na nating mag-umpisang mag-rollout (We have been waiting for this. I, as a legislator, I keep on asking our Vaccine Czar Secretary (Carlito) Galvez, Jr. and (Health) Secretary (Francisco) Duque. I keep on reminding them almost everyday. I told them that the President is starting to be impatient as we really need to start the roll-out),” he added. 

Go also stated that the Veterans Memorial Medical Center has been identified by the government as one of the medical institutions to lead in the facilitation of the vaccine rollout.

“I think sila po ang mamumuno sa ituturok po sa sundalo o civilian employees ng DND (I think they will lead in inoculating the soldiers or civilian employees of DND),” Go added. 

While he and the President have been reminding authorities to fast track the procurement of the vaccines, Go said that they understand the many challenges surrounding the purchase, including the stiff requirement by vaccine manufacturers for an indemnity measure, among others. 

Vaccine manufacturers require indemnity and liability frameworks, which include setting up an indemnification fund backed by legislation, to safeguard them from possible damage suits.  

Senate Bill (SB) 2057, which proposed the required indemnification fund and clause for COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the country, was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, February 23.

The House of Representatives adopted the Senate version of the measure on the same day.         

Go said that the law would most likely be signed by the President before the end of this week.