Philippines’ Duterte Accepts Russia’s Covid-19 Vaccine Offer
(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its coronavirus vaccine, volunteering to take the first shot as a gesture of trust and gratitude.
“When the vaccine arrives, I will have myself injected in public. Experiment on me first, that’s fine with me,” he said in a briefing Monday night. Duterte -- who has called President Vladimir Putin as his “idol” and who’s seeking to boost ties with Russia -- added that Manila can assist Moscow in clinical trials and local production.
Russia is poised to allow a vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute for civilian use even before clinical trials are completed, triggering safety warnings from pharmaceutical companies. Russia’s elite have been given the experimental vaccine as early as April.
The Philippines reported 2,987 new infections on Tuesday for a total 139,538 confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest in Southeast Asia.
Duterte last month said he also asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help the Philippines get priority access to a Covid-19 vaccine.
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