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AMID confidentiality disclosure agreement which restricts the government from divulging the actual cost of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines, Malacañang assured that the China-made vaccine costs only around P650 per dosage, similar to its pricing in other countries.

In a radio interview, Roque also refuted reports claiming that the Philippines is paying P3,600 per dose of the China-made vaccines. He however still would not say exactly how much the China bio-pharmaceutical firm is charging the Philippines per dose of the less efficient Sinovac-branded vaccines.

“Ang presyo kasi ng Tsina, hindi gaya ng ibang kompanya na kapitalista na market dictated. Ang presyo ng Tsina puwede nilang baguhin. Wala silang pakialam, depende kung sino ang bibili. ‘Yun ang dahilan kung bakit ayaw ipa-anunsiyo mismo ng Tsina kasi nga baka magalit ‘yung hindi nila masyadong BFF na alam nilang bumili nang mas mahal,” the Palace official said.

Roque, however, said that each dose of Sinovac costs more or less P650 only, similar to the price in Indonesia.

“Fake news ‘yung kumakalat na P3,600 per dose daw ang singil ng China. Ang ating presyo, bagamat hindi pa puwedeng i-anunsiyo talaga kung ano talaga ang presyo ng Sinovac ay hindi lalayo sa presyo ng Indonesia na bandang P650 kada turok,” he said.

Roque defended the government’s choice for Sinovac, pointing out that although it only yielded a 50% efficacy rate in the trials in Brazil, it caused no hospitalization among those who were vaccinated.

“Doon sa Brazil napatunayan na sa 50% na posibleng magka-COVID, 78% mild asymptomatic na hindi na kailangan magpatingin sa doktor, at 100% walang naoospital. ‘Di ba napakaganda rin noon? Bakit natin tatanggihan?” he said.

“Bakit tayo mag-aantay sa isa na darating pa sa end of the year? Kung nakakahawa na ang normal variant, mas nakakahawa ngayon. Bakit naman tayo magsusugal sa ating kalusugan samantalang nandiyan na ang proteksiyon?” he added.

As this developed, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that China is planning to donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.

Roque said these are already part of the 23 million vaccines the Philippines is procuring in total.

“Kasama na ‘yan doon sa bulto ng 23 million. So ibig sabihin lang hindi na natin kailangan bayaran ‘yung 500,000 doon sa 23 million na in-order natin. 22,500,000 na lang ang babayaran natin,” he said.

He, however, did not specify the brand of the vaccine to be donated by China.

“Doon sa kasunduan ay hindi naka-specify, pero kung ano ‘yung maaprubahan na sa lalong mabilis na panahon ng EUA, dahil pareho namang state-owned ang Sinopharm and Sinovac,” he said.

The Philippines targets to inoculate 50 to 70 million individuals within the year, and an estimated 50,000 is expected to be vaccinated in February.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the vaccine manufactured by American corporation Pfizer could be the first that will be used against COVID-19 in the country as the COVAX Facility will have an early rollout of the said brand.

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