Duterte cautioned over having himself immediately vaccinated with China COVID-19 drug
President Rodrigo Duterte should be careful from getting shots of anti-coronavirus disease vaccine being developed by China, an expert from the University of the Philippines said on Monday.
In a televised press briefing, Lulu Bravo, the executive director of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination and Professor Emeritus at the College of Medicine-UP-Manila, said that for "so many years," there was no vaccine from China that was used in the Philippines.
She said most vaccines in the country came from the United States, Europe, and even India.
"But from China, to be honest, I want to see that they have good studies before we can say that it (vaccine) is safe to be given to the President. We have to make sure our President be in good health," she said.
Bravo made the statement after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, during the briefing, asked her about Duterte's recent statement that he could no longer wait for April next year to get COVID-19 vaccine and he wanted it to be administered to him immediately.
Roque recalled what Duterte had said amid recent statement by Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago "Chito" Sta. Romana that there were a few Chinese companies which have been on their advanced clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccines and some were even administered to frontline workers in China.
"Well, the thing is we should rely on the scientific data that will be produced. I'm not saying that the Chinese vaccine is bad. What I'm saying is until such time that we can and the experts will be able to really check if it's really good," Bravo said.
The doctor explained that in the case of other US and European companies like Pfizer and Moderna, they were transparent in their studies.
"We need to be transparent," she said.
She also said that even before a vaccine developed abroad could be used in the country, it has to be approved first by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.
"Before it becomes available, can be used in the Philippines, our own FDA must check all the details," she said, but she added it did not mean that clinical trial should also be undertaken first in the country before such vaccine could be made available in local market.
She also said that even if there is already a COVID-19 vaccine, it would still be important to observe the minimum health protocols, such as wearing of mask, washing of hands, and physical distancing.
Duterte has been banking on the COVID-19 vaccines being developed in China and Russia. Celerina Monte/DMS