Chinese vaccine for loans, influence
Aside from profits, China aims to expand its influence and owned favors from countries needing a vaccine. In its haste to be first in the market, it has authorized the military to use of one of its vaccines, Sinopharm’s Ad5-nCoV ng Sinopharm, in June 25 even if it has not entered the thrid phase of clinical trials. Despite being not fully tested, it has already used this on returning workers and workers flying out of Beijing when infections rose in the city.
Another Chinese company is also in the race with Oxford. The company Sinovac is readying its clinical trials in Brazil, where Oxford is also conducting its own tests. In exchange, it has already promised Brazil 100 million doses.
Aside from Brazil, only a few countries have signified interest in China’s vaccine (UAE, Mexico, Canada and Malaysia) since the larger countries already have developed their own. To corner the Latin America and Caribbean market, it has offered a billion in loans so that countries here will have “access” to the Chinese vaccine. In short, China will give out loans so that its vaccine will be sold. It has fastracked construction of two plants for production.
Duterte is making it sound that the China is doing the Philippines a very big favor by giving us the first chance to buy its vaccine. He has repeatedly thanked China, and even pledged to borrow or sell public lands and properties.
He is ready to override regulatory agencies. He is also ready to dismiss transparency processes such as public biddings for a vaccine to favor Chinese companies. As Duterte himself disclosed, a vaccine from China will cost $10/dose, more than double than Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which will only cost $3-$4/dose.