Philippines Allows Sinovac to Hold Covid Vaccine Trials

The Philippines has allowed China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. to hold clinical trials in the Southeast Asian nation for its coronavirus vaccine, which President Rodrigo Duterte prefers to be inoculated with, officials said.

Duterte will take the first Sinovac shot once available, but wants the inoculation to be in private, his spokesman Harry Roque said at a briefing.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration is still waiting for Sinovac to submit documents on late-stage trials before processing its separate application for emergency use in the country, the regulator’s head Eric Domingo said in a separate interview with state-run PTV-4.

Sinovac’s vaccine had vastly different efficacy rates in four clinical trial sites, fueling concerns on its effectivity in stemming outbreaks. The Philippines has said it will buy 25 million vaccine doses from Sinovac, expecting the first shipment to arrive as early as next month.

The Philippines will sign an initial deal with Moderna Inc. in the coming days, with the vaccines expected to start arriving in May, CNN Philippines reported, citing vaccine czar Carlito Galvez. The Southeast Asian nation aims to buy 148 million doses to inoculate more than half of the population this year.

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