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No vaccine diplomacy for China â Locsin
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said China actually needs many vaccines for its people, but Beijing is donating 500,000 doses to the Philippines in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s commitment to President Duterte.
Presidential Photo, file

No vaccine diplomacy for China – Locsin

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — China is not pushing its COVID-19 vaccines as part of its diplomacy, the Philippines’ top diplomat said over the weekend.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said China actually needs many vaccines for its people, but Beijing is donating 500,000 doses to the Philippines in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s commitment to President Duterte.

China, Locsin said, offered concessional rates to the Philippines for Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines that are facing questions over lack of transparency and weak efficacy.

“I know China isn’t pushing its vaccines as part of its diplomacy as its lying enemies insist,” Locsin tweeted Sunday night.

“China needs as many of its vaccines for its own people; but we’d appreciate what it can spare, at concessional rates, as we go for other countries’ vaccines. So this,” he added.

Locsin earlier said the Philippines is getting as many COVID-19 vaccines as China can spare.

Beijing claimed their vaccines hold a “stronger” appeal for the vast majority of nations, especially developing countries.

Duterte vouched for the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese firms.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about vaccine aid and cooperation with four Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, during his visit last week.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said Wang, who was on a two-day official visit to Manila, informed Locsin of China’s intention to donate 500,000 vaccine doses to the Philippines during a meeting on Saturday.

Meanwhile, to address vaccine hesitancy especially among medical professionals, the Department of Health (DOH) has launched town hall meetings to gain support for the vaccination program against COVID-19.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the meetings also serve as a venue where medical professionals were able to raise concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

“With the expected arrival of vaccines this quarter, we want our medical professionals to be fully equipped, not just on its administration, but also in advocating the vaccination program and in countering misinformation and disinformation surrounding vaccines,” he said.

The DOH partnered with the Philippine Medical Association and Unilab in organizing the online meetings.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted on the first public consultations last Jan. 14, a survey was done among participants before and after discussions about the vaccination program.

Vergeire added at the start of the forum, the acceptance rate was at 84 percent, but rose to 94 percent at the exit polls. – Sheila Crisostomo

CHINA DIPLOMACY
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