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China gave Philippines COVID-19 vaccines at BFF price, says Palace

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 1/14/2021 VIRGIL LOPEZ,GMA News
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jan. 12, 2021 Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jan. 12, 2021

China gave the Philippines Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccines at a price fit for BFFs or best friend forever, presidential spokesman Secretary Harry Roque Jr. said on Thursday.

Malacañang also dismissed as mudslinging by the opposition claims that Sinovac's vaccine was the most expensive.

Roque claimed China is not a capitalist country “so their prices are not driven by market forces.”

“I can assure you, nabigyan po tayo ng presyo na ukol lamang sa kanilang BFF," Roque said.

"Hindi po pinakamahal ang Sinovac, paninira lang po ng oposisyon iyan. In fact, hindi rin po siyang pangalawang pinakamahal na bakuna na aangkatin natin,” he added.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday that Sinovac offered the “best price” as he asked the public not to “discriminate” against other vaccines.

He added that the market prices quoted in the media are much higher than the COVAX prices that the Philippines had been using in negotiating with vaccine manufacturers.

“Kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, pangatlong pinakamahal lang po siya out of six brands – so, it is in the mid-range. So, wala pong katuturan iyang mga nginangawa ng mga kritiko na nakapamahal daw ng  Sinovac," Roque said on Thursday.

Last December, Senate finance committee chairperson Sonny Angara bared a list of available vaccines worldwide and showed Sinovac’s price at P3,629 for two doses.

This is more expensive compared to Pfizer-BioNTech (P2,379); Gamaleya (P1,220); COVAX Facility (P854); AstraZeneca (P610); and Novavax (P366).

Some lawmakers then called on the government to reconsider the purchase of Sinovac vaccine doses because it was allegedly more costly and less effective.

In response, Roque assured the public that the Sinovac vaccine would not be used if there was no approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sinovac applied for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine known as CoronaVac on Wednesday.

"There’s nothing to rethink po kasi nga ginagawa natin ang lahat ng hakbang para makarating sa lalong mabilis na panahon ang kahit anong bakuna na mapapatunayang ligtas at epektibo ng ating FDA," Roque said.

"At ang Sinovac lang po ngayon ang sigurado, pero iyong kasiguraduhan na gagamitin iyan, nakadepende pa rin po iyan sa FDA kung bibigyan ng approval."

The Philippines has secured 25 million doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac, with an initial 50,000 doses expected to be delivered in February. -NB, GMA News

This article China gave Philippines COVID-19 vaccines at BFF price, says Palace was originally published in GMA News Online.

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