‘Believe in science:’ European Union kicks off Covid-19 vaccine campaign

‘Believe in science:’ European Union kicks off Covid-19 vaccine campaign

President's spokesperson also took this opportunity to take a direct aim at the "unfriendly" countries and said, "The news is that the vaccine is already here and if we can not be given Western vaccines, our friend and neighbour China is willing to give us vaccine".

The protracted timetable, which was previously unknown, confirms that the bloc, with a population of 450 million, will need vaccines from other suppliers to speed up inoculations against the coronavirus. Duterte also stressed that he placed the responsibility of buying and distributing the COVID-19 vaccine squarely on vaccine "czar" Secretary Carlito Galvez and that other ex-generals like him-Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano- would "face the firing squad".

The bloc's drug regulator is to decide on the possible approval of the Moderna vaccine on January 6, and has said that it could receive applications for approval from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson in the first quarter of next year.

Salvador Illa says a temperature control issue during the process of loading and sending out the vaccine led to the incident, but the problem has now been resolved.

So far, the Philippines has confirmed almost 470,000 COVID-19 cases - one of the highest figures in Southeast Asia - with over 9,000 deaths.

Senate President Tito Sotto III also justified the move, saying there is no reason for "the fuss", since the vaccines were not funded by the government.

Asked if the soldiers' vaccination was authorised by the president's office, Lt-Gen Sobejana said: "Well of course, our president is our commander-in-chief".

A few thousand kilometers away, in Bucharest, the first to treat a patient with COVID-19 in Romania in February, nurse Mihaela Anghel, 26, employed at Matei Bals hospital for infectious diseases, became the first Romanian vaccinated.

"I don't think there's a vaccine in history that has been tested so quickly", he said.

The health ministry in a statement said all vaccines must first be evaluated by experts, and "only vaccines which have been approved and found to be safe should be administered".

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said "public confidence is critical to the successful inoculation of our people".

He said a new batch of the vaccine will now be delivered on Tuesday instead of Monday.

Authorities in Bavaria's Upper Franconia region, one area that had been affected, later said BioNTech had cleared the vaccines.

"Without the proper authorization, there is no guarantee on the safety, quality, and efficacy of the said vaccine as the same has not undergone the required technical evaluation of the FDA", Domingo said.

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a record 4.5 trillion-peso (S$125 billion) budget for next year amid controversy that some top officials have already received their vaccines.

In November, the government extended the suspension for another six months.

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