Russian government open to offering vaccines to PH

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The country’s Russian envoy is saying Moscow will offer ‘safe and effective’ vaccines to the Philippines. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 7) — The country’s Russian envoy is saying Moscow will offer ‘safe and effective’ vaccines to the Philippines.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev told reporters in an online press briefing Friday afternoon that the offer for Russia’s own COVID-19 vaccine is now “under consideration” by the Philippine government.

“Our offer is under consideration for our Philippine partners, so we are waiting for the feedback,” Khovaev said.

The envoy also outlined three ways as to how Manila can get the vaccines: through supplying it to the country, local vaccine production on Philippine soil, and the participation of the Philippines in clinical trials.

“The Russian side is ready to closely cooperate with Philippine partners in this field,” Khovaev says. He adds, “we are ready to make necessary investments with our Philippine partners and we are ready to share our technologies.”

Khovaev also said that the creator of the vaccine, Gamaleya Institute, is ready to comply with guidelines or standards set by the Science & Technology and Health Departments before the vaccine is given to Filipinos, should the Philippine government accept the offer.

“We maintain good contacts with the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Health and all other agencies concerned,” Khovaev claimed. “We fully understand that you Filipinos have your own procedures in this field, and all these procedures should be complied with.”

The envoy also assured the public that Russian-made vaccines are “effective and safe”, adding that “over 20 countries” had expressed interest in working with Moscow on the program.

When asked about who underwent testing for this vaccine, Khovaev says, “they were volunteers – including servicemen, and many Russian scientists.” He adds, “if our Philippine partners need more information, more details, please ask specific questions and we’ll be ready to provide additional information.”

“We fully understand your concerns, because safety and efficiency must be above all,” Khovaev adds.

Despite skepticism within and outside Russia about the effectiveness and development time of the vaccine, Moscow claims the move is a “Sputnik” moment – referring to how Russia – then part of the Soviet Union – launched the world’s first satellite.

“Americans were surprised when they heard Sputnik’s beeping. It’s the same with this vaccine. Russia will have got there first,” Kirill Dmirtiev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, earlier told

The move follows Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian’s pronouncement that Manila will be a “priority” in getting vaccines from Beijing, telling CNN Philippines’ The Source that Beijing’s vaccine could be developed “before the end of this year or early next year.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made no secret of his preference for Russia and China in his foreign policy pronouncements.

However, Khovaev says, the move is a form of humanitarian cooperation instead of a political one. “We have brilliant scientists, we have very good technologists, we have great experience of research in this field. We are ready to share our achievements will all interested parties abroad… It’s about millions and millions of lives which must be saved, the envoy said.

So far, only three Chinese vaccine makers join a joint BioNTech/Fosun Pharma/Pfizer team, a tie-up between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and biotechnology company Moderna as the first six vaccine candidates who are now in Phase-3 trials, according to the World Health Organization.