fredag 7. mai 2021

As China awaits WHO approval for its vaccines, one country is sending theirs back

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte live-streamed himself receiving a first dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine on Monday, it was supposed to encourage reluctant Filipinos to follow his lead and protect themselves against Covid-19. Instead, it drew a firestorm of criticism against Duterte -- for choosing a vaccine not yet approved by the country's regulators.

Amid the backlash, Duterte on Wednesday asked China to take back the 1,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine it had donated to the Philippines and apologized to the public for receiving the unapproved shot. Duterte said he had told the Chinese ambassador to stop sending Sinopharm. "Just give us Sinovac, which is being used by everyone," he said, according to local media, referring to another Chinese vaccine that was granted emergency use in the Philippines in February.

It was the second piece of awkward diplomacy between the Philippines and its large neighbor in a week, after Foreign Minister Teddy Locsin had to apologize for an expletive-laced tweet about Beijing's activities in the South China Sea.