Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has hailed Russia President Vladimir Putin's efforts to produce a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge for Filipinos and has offered to be the first to get an experimental shot.
Duterte told the country in a TV address he would take the Russian vaccine to prove that it is safe.
Duterte said the medication produced by Russia is "really good for humanity" and he trusts Putin and his country's COVID-19 research. Duterte has been vocal in the past about his admiration for Putin - even calling Russia's leader his "idol."
The Philippines is ready to collaborate on clinical tests with Russia - including with supply and manufacturing, according to a statement released by the Malacanang Palace.
Russia health authorities said Tuesday they had developed and approved a COVID-19 vaccine. The reaction from the international community has been skeptical because the vaccine hasn't passed late-stage tests.
Putin said one of his adult daughters had received the vaccine. Nevertheless, Russia authorities have offered no evidence to support Putin's claims that the treatment is safe and effective.
Russia will provide the Philippines with COVID-19 drugs that have shown promising results, Russia envoy to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said earlier.
The Philippines has one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in Asia - climbing 2,987 new infections Tuesday to 139,538. In July, Duterte asked China's President Xi Jinping to prioritize the Philippines if China produced a vaccine.