Duterte says Russia may give COVID-19 vaccine for free, volunteers to receive first injection
MANILA, Philippines — Russia is willing to provide the Philippines a vaccine against COVID-19 for free, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday as he volunteered to receive the first injection and show the public it is safe for humans.
“Maligayang-maligaya ako kasi ang Russia, kaibigan natin ito, wala tayong away sa Russia, kaibigan natin. Ang ano nila is magbigay sila ng bakuna. Wala naman silang sinasabi bayaran mo. Ito, tingin ko kay President [Vladimir] Putin, tulong niya sa atin, libre,” Duterte said in a taped address.
(I’m so happy because Russia is our friend. They said they will give the vaccine. They are not saying we will be charged for this, and I think President Vladimir Putin is giving the vaccine for free to help us.)
Duterte said the number of supplies to be given is still in talks and noted that clinical studies will still have to be made.
The President said he would be the first to be experimented by volunteering to take it in public.
Duterte tasked the Department of Health to coordinate with Russia on the transfer of technology for a possible vaccine against COVID-19.
“I don’t think Russia will renege on its promise and so I am asking the Secretary of Health to look for the best guy to be dealing with Russia in this area–the transfer of technology of the vaccine,” Duterte said.
The President expressed thanks to Russia and assured that the two nations will remain “friends forever.”
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev earlier said Russia is ready to supply the country with COVID-19 vaccines.
Khovaev assured the trials of the vaccine were turning out “promising” and that it is “effective and safe.” [ac]
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