Despite bribery claim, China’s Sinovac still Philippines’ first COVID-19 vaccine pick — Palace

MANILA, Dec 11 (Mabuhay)– The vaccine candidate from China’s Sinovac Biotech remains the Philippines’ first choice in its inoculation drive against the novel coronavirus, Malacañang said Thursday, despite an allegation that the drug maker had bribed Beijing’s drug regulator.

A Washington Post report said court records show that Sinovac, which is also applying to run COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in the Philippines, acknowledged the bribery. The CEO of the company reportedly told the court that he could not refuse the regulatory official who demanded money.

“The target remains that Sinovac will be the first that we can use to vaccinate our people and it will be in the first quarter of next year,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“What we’re waiting for is number magkaroon ng supply. Iyan po talaga ang problema, iyong supply. Pagdating po sa financing, wala na pong problema iyan,” he told reporters.    

The Philippines has been “consistent” in saying that only safe and effective vaccines will be used, Roque said.

“Buong-buong po ang tiwala ni Presidente kay [Food and Drug Administration Director] Dr. [Eric] Domingo,” he said. “So pagdating po sa mga allegations-allegations on bribery, tingin ko po hindi mangyayari iyan sa Pilipinas.”

Duterte recently allowed the FDA to clear coronavirus vaccines and drugs for emergency use.  (MNS)

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