Duterte prefers to get Sinopharm vaccine, says Roque

Published February 22, 2021, 1:56 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte will not be among the first to get the Sinovac vaccines after the country’s drug regulators advised against its use for senior citizens, Malacañang announced Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

Duterte, who is 75 years old, prefers instead to be vaccinated by another Chinese-made vaccine, Sinopharm, to protect against the coronavirus illness, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

“Obviously po dahil sinabi ng EUA na inisyu ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  na hindi muna natin gagamitin sa seniors, hindi mapapasama ang president sa mauuna (Obviously, because the EUA issued by FDA indicated it cannot be used for seniors, the President will not be among those who will get the first jabs),” Roque said during a televised press conference Monday, Feb. 22.

Asked if the President will take the other Chinese developed vaccine, Roque said: “He has said his preference is for Sinopharm.”

The country’s Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it has approved the Sinovac vaccines for emergency use following a thorough review of relevant health data. However, it  did not recommend its use for the country’s health workers.

The Chinese vaccines are, instead, recommended for use on 18 to 59 year old clinically healthy individuals. Sinovac has become the third company to be given EUA in the country, after Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

The FDA earlier issued a compassionate use permit for 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines supposedly intended for the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tand their families.

With the FDA approval of Sinovac, Roque said the government could soon begin the vaccination drive initially for uniformed personnel and other essential workers. He clarified that the Palace did not ask the FDA to complete its review of the Sinovac vaccine with undue haste.

“Hindi natin minadali at hindi natin napilit na gumawa ng eksperto ng desisyon na ayaw nila so tumagal ang proseso, naantala ang pagdating ng Sinovac so wala talagang nagpabilis sa proseso at nagkaroon pa ng kondisyones (We did not rush, we did not force the experts to issue a decision they don’t like. The process was prolonged, the arrival of Sinovac was delayed. It was not unnecessarily hastened and in fact, conditions were imposed),’ he said.

President Duterte recently decided to take his vaccine shot in public, after refusing to do so. He initially preferred to do the vaccination in private since he wanted to be injected in the buttock area.

The Palace earlier said the President wanted to be vaccinated either with the vaccine developed by China or Russia.