By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Sen. Bong Go

Malacañang said Monday that the inoculation of President Rodrigo Duterte with a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China-based Sinopharm was meant to boost the confidence of the public on Chinese-made vaccines.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after being asked why the government is urging Filipinos to trust vaccines that are approved under emergency use if Duterte himself got vaccinated with a vaccine that has yet to secure such before regulators.

"Hindi po namili si Presidente ng stateside na brand. Chinese brand rin ang pinili niya. This will boost confidence in Chinese-made vaccines,” Roque said in a Palace briefing on Monday.

The lone vaccine produced by Chinese firms approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is from Sinovac Biotech. However, Sinovac is yet to be included in the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

The Philippines so far received more than five million Sinovac vaccines with some being part of the donations by the Chinese government and some being purchased by the Philippines.

Amid the reported public preference to coronavirus jabs developed by Western countries, the government has been urging the Filipinos not to be choosy on what vaccines they want to receive.

Earlier, a survey from Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that 63% of Filipinos want to get inoculated by a vaccine produced by United States’ drugmakers.

As of Monday, May 24, the Department of Health reported 1,184,706 total infections, 1,115,806 recoveries, 19,983 fatalities including 48,917 active cases.

Meanwhile, as of May 22, 4,097,425 COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been administered in the country.