President Duterte may be inoculated with the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine as long as the medicine is approved by local health authorities for use, according to Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Col. Jesus Durante III.
Durante imposed the condition to ensure the President’s health after Duterte volunteered to take the first vaccine shot developed by Russia.
"As long as the vaccine is approved by FDA and DOH (Department of Health)," Durante said when asked if the PSG will allow the President to take the vaccine.
Russia reportedly became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine for use and has offered to supply the Philippines with the medicine. The President, in his televised address last Monday, welcomed Moscow's development of a coronavirus vaccine and expressed willingness to participate in the trials.
"Ako, pagdating ng bakuna, in public, para walang satsat diyan, in public magpa-injection ako. Ako ‘yung maunang ma-eksperimentuhan. Okay para sa akin (When the vaccine arrives, I will have myself injected with it so there won't be anymore talk. I can be the first they can experiment on. That's okay with me),” the President said.
Duterte said he will tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that he trusts the "vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity.” With the coronavirus vaccine in sight, Duterte said he hopes there would be a “COVID-free” Christmas season.
The Palace earlier said the Philippines is ready to work with Russia on vaccine trials, supply and production. It maintained that the potential vaccine must still go through the testing and health protocols of regulatory authorities.
As of August 12, the country has recorded 143,749 cases of coronavirus with 2,404 deaths. It has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia following the recent surge in infections.