President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday defended the inclusion of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines in the government's plan, saying it was backed as much by research as Western counterparts.
The choice of Sec. Carlito Galvez, the government's vaccine czar, "will bind me," Duterte said in his weekly address to the nation. As many as 25 million Sinovac vaccine doses will arrive this year, with the first batch scheduled in February.
"Hindi nagkulang ang mga Chinese. Hindi sila nagkulang sa utak. Bright itong mga Intsik. They would not venture kung hindi sapat, it is not safe, sure and secure," he said.
"Hindi ako magbili ng bakuna na hindi tama," he said.
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Duterte said local governments that have enough funds to buy their own vaccines can do so outside the national government's program. They can also choose which brands they want, he said.