Duterte orders pullout of Sinopharm doses from PH

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night ordered the withdrawal of China’s donation of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine developed by Sinopharm after he was criticized for taking the unregistered drug.

In his pre-recorded public address, Duterte said he has requested Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian to withdraw the donated 1,000 Sinopharm doses amid controversy over his decision to be inoculated with the vaccine yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

“I apologize. To really complete the story, kindly follow it up. Ipa-withdraw mo ang Sinopharm (Have Sinopharm withdrawn). So Sinopharm will not be available in the Philippines, para wala nang worries,” Duterte said.

The President on Monday night received his first dose of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine although the FDA has yet to grant it an emergency use authorization. It was Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd who administered the vaccine to the President.

In his latest remarks, Duterte said that China’s Sinopharm vaccine that he took was “covered by compassionate use” and based on the prescription of his doctors.

“Ngayon tinurok sa akin (Now it was injected on me), it’s the decision of my doctor and all things said, this is my life. Alam ko naman (I know) compassionate use. So there was this legal point that made it possible for me to say that.Sinabi ng doctor Sinopharm because of the record outside of the Philippines na maganda (The doctor said Sinopharm because it’s good record outside the Philippines),” he said.

Sinopharm, developed by Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group, is said to be 79.34 percent effective.

The product has been approved for general use in the United Arab Emirates and for emergency use in Argentina, Nepal, Egypt, Pakistan and Peru.

In the Philippines, Covid-19 vaccine products from the following have been cleared for emergency use by the country’s drug regulator: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Gamaleya Institute, Sinovac Biotech, Johnson & Johnson, and Bharat Biotech.

So far, the country has received 4.040 million Covid-19 shots, majority of which are from Sinovac.

As of Monday, the government has administered at least 1.9 million Covid-19 shots. It aims to inoculate a third of its population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity.

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