Talks for Sputnik-V vaccine in 'very advanced stage' — Phl envoy to Russia

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Talks for Sputnik-V vaccine in 'very advanced stage' â Phl envoy to Russia
This handout picture taken on August 6, 2020 and provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund shows the vaccine against the coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
Handout / Russian Direct Investment Fund / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines' discussions with Russia on the possible purchase of COVID-19 vaccines are now in a "very advanced stage," Manila's envoy to Moscow said Monday.

Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta said the vaccines would be acquired through a government-to-government commercial agreement, not through donation, because the Duterte administration is ready to pay for the COVID-19 shots.

"Our discussions on a technical level with Russia are in a very advanced stage. Right now, we are waiting for additional information, technical data being sought by the Philippines. Once it is obtained, I think that’s the final step for our FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to make a decision," Sorreta said at a press briefing.

"And once they make a decision, the Russian side is ready to sit down and sign, which they have done already with 30 countries, and there are 50 other counties lined up. So I think that’s the next step," he added.

Sorreta said it is hard to give a timeline for the procurement but the Philippines is constantly following up on the information it is seeking from Russia.  

"If we make a decision soon and give the approval, I think the vaccines can come in a fairly quick amount of time," he said.

Sorreta said Russia has partnered with at least six countries for the local production of vaccines. He said there is still no private partner in the Philippines for Sputnik V, the vaccine developed by Russia.

"I understand that there are also discussions with our private sector with the Russian private … the propriety side of the Russian state enterprises. So I think if we are willing to, and I have no doubt that we are able to – we have the capability, we have the great people and expertise," the envoy said.  

"But the priority now is obtaining supplies from the Russian side, and it’s important to be able to put our order soon kasi ginagawa iyong pagdating ng order eh. So hopefully, it will happen soon enough," he added.

Russia has offered to supply the Philippines Sputnik V vaccines developed by Gamaleya Research Institute. Sorreta said the Russia-made vaccines are available commercially and some Filipinos have availed of them.

"If you go to a private doctor, you can avail of it... Aside from medical centers in our areas, they set up vaccination facilities in the malls. Filipinos frequent malls and perhaps after shopping or eating at the food court, they drop by the vaccination center," the envoy said.



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