Instead of rolling up his sleeve for the coronavirus vaccine, President Duterte prefers to be injected with the vaccine in the buttock area.
The President’s preferred mode of vaccination is reason he decided to keep his inoculation in private, according to his Spokesman Harry Roque.
“I think so he has said so. Sabi nya dahil sa puwit siya magpapasaksak, hindi puwedeng public (He said since he wants to be injected in the buttocks, it cannot be public,” Roque said during a televised press briefing when asked if the President’s decision on the private vaccination is final.
The Palace earlier said the President is willing to be injected first with the coronavirus vaccine if it would help boost public confidence in the government’s planned vaccination drive. The President however preferred to follow the footsteps of the British monarchs who were given the vaccines away from the television cameras.
As several nations started their vaccination drives, reports showed the COVID vaccines have been injected in the muscle of a person’s upper arm. In the Philippines, the government plans to give free inoculations as soon as the first batch of the vaccine supplies arrive next month.
In the Palace press briefing, Roque acknowledged that the President remained the most effective communicator in government. He cited Duterte’s appearance in the public service advertisement encouraging the public to follow health protocols including wearing of mask to avoid getting infected with the coronavirus.
“Sa communication plan, importante ang Presidente (In the communication plan, the President is important),” he said. “We recognize the President is best communicator for NTF (National Task Force) and our anti-COVID-19 efforts,” he added.
In a meeting with the President Monday night, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. admitted the government was facing a problem related to the low public confidence in the vaccination drive. Galvez mentioned that the President could provide huge assistance in this communication effort to convince Filipinos to get vaccinated and counter the anti-vaxxers or people who oppose the use of vaccines.
“Ito po ang medyo may problema po tayo na talagang dapat po pagtulungan po natin. Alam po namin na malaki po ang maitutulong ng ating Mayor, Presidente, Mr. President, kasi po talagang bumababa po ‘yung willingness at saka ‘yung uptake ng ating mga kababayan dahil nga po sa mga tinatawag nating mga nakikitang mga adverse effect ng certain brands (This is our problem that we should all work on. We know that our Mayor, Mr. President, will be of great help because the willingness of our countrymen to get vaccinated is decreasing because of the adverse effects of certain brands),” Galvez said.
“At the same time, malakas po ‘yung ano, ‘yung social media ng mga anti-vaxxers (At the same time, the anti-vaxxers are getting strong on social media),’ he added.
Galvez said the “Explain, Explain, Explain” campaign has already been launched by the government to inform the public about its vaccination program. He said they are also working closely wit the private sector, which plans to spearhead the “Ingat Angat Bakuna Lahat” to improve public uptake on the vaccines.
A Pulse Asia survey recently showed that nearly half of Filipinos are not inclined to get the coronavirus vaccine supposedly due to safety concerns. At least 47 percent of the 2,400 survey respondents do not want to be vacated, 32 percent are willing to get the shot and 21 percent are undecided. Of those who refuse to get the vaccine, 84 percent claimed they were unsure about its safety.