Duterte reassures Filipinos COVID-19 vaccines from China ‘safe’

Addressing fears and concerns over the country’s possible use of COVID-19 vaccines from Beijing, President Rodrigo Duterte said that it will be safe since China is a “modern country whose integrity is fully protected by its achievements.”

In his pre-recorded public address aired the night of October 14, Duterte said that he’s waiting for China or Russia to contact him for the COVID-19 vaccines. “I’d be glad to open up my sleeves because I am confident with their vaccine,” the president said.

Duterte has been expressing his interest in acquiring COVID-19 vaccines from China. He had previously slammed Western pharmaceutical companies who are also in the process of developing vaccines and accused them of being “all about money.”

He previously said that Chinese President Xi Jinping promised him that the Philippines will be Beijing’s priority for the COVID-19 vaccines that China is currently developing.

Duterte also said that while the Philippines already has money to buy COVID-19 vaccines, the funds aren’t enough so he would continue looking for other sources to ensure that more Filipinos could get access to the yet-to-be developed vaccines. This is despite the massive loan the country has accumulated from various multinational lenders.

He added that soldiers and security forces of the country should be prioritized in the first batch of Filipinos who will be given the COVID-19 vaccine since they need “to be ready, healthy, and without COVID” since they are “vital to the security of the state.” Duterte said that civilians “can be last” in the distribution of the vaccine.

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