The President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte will deliver a speech at the Malakanang Palace in Manila on June 1, 2017.
Noel Selis AFP | Getty images
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be injected with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine as early as May 2021, according to the government’s official newspaper, the president̵
Earlier this week, Duterte voluntarily participated in trials of the Russian vaccine, even when scientists and health experts questioned the safety and effectiveness of the drug.
Russia announced on Tuesday that it had registered the world’s first vaccine against the rapidly spreading coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, after less than two months of clinical trials. The data from these experiments have not been published.
The Philippines is among a handful of countries that will take part in a larger trial for a ‘three-phase vaccine’. The Philippine News Agency, the government’s official newspaper, said the country aims to begin the process in October.
Medical experts believe that the third phase of testing is critical to the development of the vaccine and is needed to eliminate possible side effects. Such studies, which usually randomize who gets the vaccine and who doesn’t, can involve thousands of participants.
Last week, the Philippines overtook Indonesia to report the highest number of cumulative coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday afternoon, 143,749 cases and 2,404 deaths had been reported in the country, according to Hopkins.
Last month, Duterte called on China to make his country a priority as he developed a vaccine, Reuters reported.
J. Stephen Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia on Wednesday that it was no surprise that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Russia’s vaccine to Duterte.
Morrison is senior vice president at CSIS and director of the Center for Global Trust Health Policy.
“Putin is also playing on the concern in lower-income and low-middle-income countries that rich countries are shutting off all vaccine supplies coming from these other major retail outlets, and that they will be left behind in the queue with long, long and strong harmful delays, “he said.
– Berkeley Lovelace Jr. of CNBC contributed to this report.