The forthcoming delivery of Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines is borne out of the friendship between President Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Monday.
Locsin was reacting to reports that an initial 20,000 doses of Sputnik vaccines will be arriving this week, ahead of the 500,000 doses due this April or May.
“No, Russia doesn’t need us. At all. It’s pure friendship between Digong and Putin, like Digong with Xi. I saw the friendship in Russia,” Locsin said in a tweet.
Manufactured by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, Sputnik V is the fourth vaccine to be granted Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
In an interview with a Russian television network on Monday, Locsin thanked the Russian government, specifically Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for facilitating his request for help.
“I just came out in Russian media and thanked Russia for its generous response to my cry for help. “Spasibo (God save you), Minister Lavrov.” The unrivaled master of diplomacy. I always had faith in Russian science remembering my dad pointing up, “There, Sputnik,” blinking in the night sky,” he said.
The DFA secretary said Lavrov was “firm, clear” about the requirements of the procurement and acted on the request “within minutes of the call.”
“Spasibo, Foreign Minister Lavrov. He was firm, clear about requirements and within minutes of the call he had acted. Owe you, sir,” Locsin said.
Russia is expected to supply the Philippines with 20 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine, according to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
The FDA said Sputnik V can only be administered to clinically healthy individuals aged 18 and above.