Duterte on getting Sinopharm jab: ‘This is my life’

Published May 6, 2021, 12:48 AM

by Raymund Antonio

After apologizing for having himself inoculated with Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine despite the lack of regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), President Duterte insisted that he can get what vaccine he wants because “this is my life.”

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a televised address on May 5, 2021 (RTVM Screenshot)

In his televised public address late Wednesday night, the Chief Executive said he ordered the withdrawal of some 1,000 jabs of Sinopharm vaccine from the Philippines.

Duterte apologized for getting the shot, the proof of which was uploaded by the Palace on Monday, May 3.

“Well, it’s the decision of my doctor. Anyway, it is my life,” he said, adding that his doctors recommended Sinopharm because of its “record” overseas.

The President earlier said he wanted himself and his family to be inoculated with Sinopharm vaccine, which is reportedly the same one used on Chinese officials, as well as in Brazil and Indonesia.

Duterte clarified that he did not break any law when he got the vaccine despite the lack of an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA.

He insisted that it falls under the compassionate use permit the FDA granted to the President Security Group (PSG) last February when they had themselves inoculated with the vaccine purportedly for his protection.

“Alam ko naman (I know) compassionate use so there was this legal point that made it possible for me to (have it),” Duterte said.

It was Health Secretary Francisco Duque III himself who administered the vaccine to the President.

Palace officials insisted that they did not bring the vaccine illegally into the country because it is part of the donation of the Chinese government.

The vaccine, developed by Beijing Biological Products Institute under state-owned China National Biotec Group (CNBG), is said to be 79.34 percent effective. There are questions about its late trials, though, as well as several severe side effects associated with the vaccine.

Duterte said the public will just have to wait for Sinovac, another Chinese-made vaccine that has been rolled out nationwide since the first batch arrived in early March.