Rising infections in countries where Chinese vaccines for Covid-19 are being used cannot be blamed solely on the vaccines, a top official of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) said.

DoST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development Executive Director Jaime Montoya made the observation in reaction to an article in The New York Times that cited the experience of Mongolia, which used the BBIBP-CorV vaccine developed by Chinese drug manufacturer Sinopharm (China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp.) for its inoculation program.

The article noted that the country saw a surge in Covid-19 cases despite more than half of its population being fully vaccinated.

It reported that there were 1,312 new cases and its two-week growth rate rose to more than 70 percent.

It was not conclusive to say that the number of cases jumped because the Sinopharm vaccine was not fully effective, Montoya said during the Laging Handa briefing on Thursday.

It could also be because of variants and people not following the minimum health standards, he said.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. also believes that the Sinopharm vaccine should not be blamed for the rise in infections in Mongolia and other countries, saying there were also surges in the United Kingdom, which primarily uses AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

"I don't think na may kinalaman iyong bakuna sa resurgence. Kung hindi, siguro nagkakaroon sila nang false sense of security dahil marami nang nabakunahan, nagpapabaya na sila sa mask, hugas, iwas (I don't think the vaccine can be blamed for the surge. It may have also been because of a false sense of security after many of their citizens got vaccinated. They did away with wearing masks, washing their hands and safe distancing)," Roque said.

On Monday, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use application of the Department of Health for the Sinopharm vaccine.