Philippines to access U.S. vaccines with no conditions attached
The Philippines will have access to potential COVID-19 vaccines being developed by United States firms without any set condition, the health ministry said on Friday.
The Health Undersecretary, Maria Rosario Vergeire said none of the U.S. vaccine makers the government have been in talks with had set conditions, adding that all potential vaccines will have to undergo a regulatory process to ensure they are safe.
"No conditions were provided or given us", Vergeire said in a news conference.
The Philippines, with its large population, is still a developing country and just like most others, it is trying to secure its supply of COVID-19 vaccine from the United States.
The Philippines government had already met with the U.S vaccine manufactures, Pfizer INC and Moderna Inc. It has also held discussions with Russia and China which are among the countries leading in the global race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Presidential Spokesman, Harry Roque, speaking on Thursday said that President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to pardon a U.S. marine convicted of the murder of a transgender woman about six years ago might have been because of his desire to ensure access to the coronavirus vaccine.
However, he (Roque) restated on Friday that what he said was merely a personal opinion.
According to a report on Reuters, Pemberton, the convict was serving a six-to-10-year sentence for the murder of Jennifer Laude near a U.S navy base in 2014.
According to the Bureau of Immigration, he (Pemberton) will likely be released from the military jail and deported this weekend.
Philippine Ambassador to Washington, Jose Manuel Romualdez speaking about Pemberton's pardon to ANC News Channel said U.S officials were "surprised" by the pardon.
While the U.S inquired about Pemberton, they did not push for his release, Romualdez said.
The Philippines, with a population of about 107 million people, has the highest cases of COVID-19 infection in Southeast Asia with more than 248,000 confirmed positive.
The nation intends to buy 40 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine worth $400 million for 20 million people (which is about a fifth of its total population).
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