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Duterte vouches for Chinese vaccines: As good as US, EU

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night said coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines from China were not less effective than those made in the United States or Europe as local governments prepared to buy their own vaccines.

“Now the bakuna that Secretary Galvez is buying is as good as any other bakuna na naimbento ng mga Amerikano o mga Europeans. Hindi nag-kulang ang Chinese, hindi sila nag-kulang sa utak,” Duterte said.

“Bright itong mga instik at they would not venture kung hindi sapat, it is not safe, sure, and secure. ‘Yung tatlo… that is the guarantee,” he added.

The president said the COVID-19 vaccines were all equal as each firm studied the “same microbes.”

“It does not mean to say that the Americans, or the Europeans, the EU, are better than the Chinese. Ako kung anong piliin ni Secretary Galvez, kung ano yung responsibility niya, responsibility ko rin,” Duterte said.

British firm AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has a 90 percent efficacy, Russia’s Sputnik V has a 91.40 percent efficacy, American biotechnology company Moderna’s vaccine has a 94.5 percent efficacy, while American firm Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine has a 95 percent efficacy.

The safety and efficacy of a coronavirus vaccine is more important than the brand name it carries, health workers said Tuesday amid discussions on whether Filipinos can afford to be “picky” when it comes to vaccines.

Meanwhile, Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine has a 79.34 percent efficacy while Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine has less than 60 percent efficacy in the Brazil trial and a 91 percent efficacy in Turkey.

“Ako, kung ano ang piliin ni Secretary Galvez would bind me. Parang ako na rin ang bumili ng bakuna. So hindi ako mag-bili ng bakuna na hindi tama,” Duterte said.

LGUs allot funds for vaccines

The president also said that the national government was not forcing anyone to join its cause as local government units made plans to purchase their own COVID-19 vaccines.

“Alam mo, totoo lang, we are not forcing anybody to join the cause of the national government. Hindi namin pinipilit na sumali kayo sa ibibigay na bakuna ng national government,” Duterte said.

“Ito libre at pinag-handaan ang pera. Secretary of Finance, yesterday we had a cabinet meeting, sabi ni Sonny Dominguez we have the money. We have the money,” he added.

The Valenzuela City government has signed a deal with British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca for 640,000  vaccine doses.

Meanwhile, the local governments of San Juan and Mandaluyong have inked a tripartite agreement with the national government and AstraZeneca so that their residents could be provided with COVID-19 vaccines at the soonest possible time.

Quezon City has also secured 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for its residents while the local government of Parañaque has secured 200,000 doses of the same vaccine.

The Pasig City local government has also ordered 400,000 doses of the the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) convened its own experts and those from around the world to review the data on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine’s "safety, efficacy and quality" and found that the vaccine met the must-have criteria for safety and efficacy set out by WHO, and that the benefits of using the vaccine to address COVID-19 offset potential risks. — BAP/RSJ GMA News