MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked China to take back 1,000 doses of donated Sinopharm vaccine after he was criticized for getting the injection even though the vaccine hasn’t been authorized for public use in the country.
The Philippine health secretary injected Duterte on Monday, and an unspecified number of Duterte’s guards received the Sinopharm vaccine in secrecy.
Duterte said he told the Chinese ambassador “that this came under criticism because Sinopharm did not undergo examination so let’s just do away with it. You withdraw all Sinopharm vaccines, 1,000 of them.”
Duterte said his injection did not breach any regulation because it fell under a “compassionate use” exemption.
Critics, however, said Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made a mockery of vaccine regulations while ordinary Filipinos have struggled with a plethora of pandemic restrictions.