Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gives a speech at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on June 1, 2017.
Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may be injected with the Russian coronavirus vaccine as early as May 2021, according to the government’s official newswire, which quoted the president̵
Earlier this week, Duterte volunteered to participate in trials for the Russian vaccine, despite scientists and health experts questioning the drug’s safety and effectiveness.
Russia announced on Tuesday that it had registered the world’s first vaccine against the fast-spreading coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after less than two months of clinical trials. Data from these studies have not been published.
The Philippines are among a handful of countries that will participate in a larger “phase three” study for the vaccine. The Philippine News Agency, the government’s official news agency, reported that the country intends to start these processes in October.
Phase 3 studies are viewed by medical experts as critical to any vaccine development and are needed to eradicate possible side effects. Such studies, which typically randomize who gets the vaccine and who doesn’t, can involve thousands of participants.
The Philippines overtook Indonesia last week to report the highest number of cumulative coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, data from Johns Hopkins University showed. The country reported 143,749 cases and 2,404 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to Hopkins data.
Duterte asked China last month to give its country a priority in developing a vaccine, Reuters reported.
J. Stephen Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia on Wednesday that it was no surprise that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Duterte the Russian vaccine.
Morrison is senior vice president at CSIS and director of the think tank’s global health policy center.
“Putin is also playing with concerns in lower and lower middle-income countries that the rich countries will cut off all vaccine supplies from these other major outlets and that they will remain in the background of the queue with long, long and very harmful delays,” he said.
– CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.