President Duterte said that while he respects the preference of doctors to western brands, he claimed they were "discriminating" for refusing to be vaccinated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine that came from China.
Duterte made the statement as the government started to vaccinate health workers using the CoronaVac vaccines donated by the Chinese government to the Philippines.
In his speech in Valenzuela City, President Duterte said he respects the decision of the doctors but still called them out for waiting for another brand.
"For those of you who would opt to take that vaccine, it’s fine with me," he said Thursday.
"Others might prefer other brands. The doctors are very discriminating. They are waiting for the Pfizer ," he added.
According to the President, he was also waiting for the Sinopharm vaccine, another Chinese drug, because he was not keen on taking Western brands.
"Ang akin is Sinopharm, China. Hindi masyado ako maano diyan sa mga produkto ng puti (I want Sinopharm from China. I'm not really a fan of western products)," he said.
The government has placed top priority on vaccinating the country's 3.4 healthcare workers against COVID-19 with the 600,000 doses of CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac.
President Duterte himself has recognized that health workers were waiting for Western brands and said they were free to do so and they will not lose their priority status.
The Philippines is set to receive 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, a British-Swedish brand, from the COVAX Facility on March 4. Malacañang said that health workers who passed on CoronaVac will be entitled to the AstraZeneca vaccine.