Duterte to lead turnover rites of Sinovac vax

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the turnover ceremony of the first batch of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccines that will be delivered to the country on Feb. 28, Malacaรฑang confirmed on Friday.

“It’s in his [schedule],” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a text message.

In a separate statement, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said the turnover rites would be held on Friday afternoon.

Go said he would accompany Duterte in receiving the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines developed by Sinovac.

“Simple turnover naman po ito dahil kami po ni Pangulo ay nagagalak na meron na pong dumating finally sa February. Umabot po tayo sa February. On the last day po ay darating na po ang bakuna (It’s just a simple turnover. The President and I are happy that the vaccines will be delivered in February. Our goal to have it in February has been achieved. We will have the vaccines on the last day of the month),” he said.

The Chinese government has donated a total of 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine to the Philippines.

The donation is part of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s vow during his visit to the Philippines in January this year to support Manila’s Covid-19 pandemic response.

The vaccines from Sinovac are the first batch of Covid-19 jabs that will arrive in the country.

Around 100,000 of 600,000 Sinovac vaccine doses will be reserved for the Department of National Defense.

The delivery of Sinovac vaccines came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday granted China’s drugmaker an emergency use authorization.

Front-line healthcare workers were supposed to be the first in line to receive Covid-19 vaccines, but FDA warned that the Sinovac vaccine has a 50.4-percent efficacy rate when administered to medical workers exposed to the coronavirus.

Roque on Thursday said medical front-liners would not be forced into receiving vaccine shots from Sinovac. (PNA) 

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