'Just maybe shut up': Duterte tells Robredo on Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) – President Rodrigo Duterte fires back again on Vice President Leni Robredo on her statements about the China-made Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.

Duterte expounded that Robredo is creating uncertainty and doubt among people about the effectiveness of Sinovac, the first COVID-19 vaccine brand to arrive in the country last February 28. An initial batch of 600,000 doses donated by the Chinese government and military arrived on that day.

"Instead of helping, the Vice President muddled up everything, thereby I said creating uncertainty and doubt in the minds of the people. I hope next time, if she has nothing good to say, she should just maybe shut up… I did not get irritated. I got angry at you because I said, what is this? Time is running out to convince people," said Duterte.

The President responded to the Vice President's remark in an online show interview where she said Duterte was short-tempered. It was Robredo's response to Duterte's comment on his public address last week that she should "bring a basket" and shop for vaccines.

Duterte got irked by Robredo's backing of some health workers who pleaded to the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to review the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.

HTAC was created under the Universal Health Care Law to review the cost and ethical and community impact of health technologies that will be introduced to the public. Included for review are medicines, vaccines, and health devices.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who co-authored the law, clarified that under the measure, the health technology assessment process is only recommendatory to the Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the country is expected to receive one million more doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March. The Philippine government reached an agreement with Sinovac to secure 25 million doses of the product. The government will request for two million doses by April and three million doses by May.