Robredo hits Duterte’s use of unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine

Published May 9, 2021, 1:29 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, May 9, scored the inoculation of President Duterte with the Sinopharm vaccine despite it not having an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

VP Leni Robredo (Jansen Romero/Manila Bulletin)

During her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni,” the vice president said that public officials should be careful with what message they are sending to the Filipino people.

“Kailangan maging maingat tayo. Una, kung public official ako nagpaturok ako tapos pinahayag ko iyon in public parang in a way promotion ‘yun, di ba? (We need to be careful because first, if you are a public official and you had yourself vaccinated and you showed that to the public, that’s a promotion in a way, right?),” she asked.

“In a way pino-promote mo iyong klase ng bakunang tinurok sa’yo. Tapos iyong pini-promote mo walang EUA, mahirap iyon (In a way, you are promoting the vaccine administered to you. Then, what you’re promoting has no EUA, that’s difficult),” she added.

Robredo was asked about President’s decision to get the Sinopharm jab. It is developed by Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group (CNBG), and is said to be 79.34 percent effective.

Duterte defended her use of the vaccine even without the EUA, saying that it is still legal to have the vaccine because of the compassionate use permit the FDA granted Sinopharm back in February.

Robredo said using a vaccine without FDA approval was a “mockery” of the existing regulatory agencies.

Supporting and promoting vaccines without an EUA defeats the purpose of the FDA, which is composed of experts who have the capacity to assess and ensure that the vaccines in the market went through “rigorous assessment,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, the vice president said she can already get vaccinated because she has hypertension, so she will fall under the A3 category, or persons with comorbidities.

She’s willing to get vaccinated as long as there’s enough vaccine supply and as long as the vaccine to be administered on her has an EUA.

Right now, the country only has supplies from China’s Sinovac, Russia’s Sputnik V, and the AstraZeneca donation from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX facility. About 193,000 Pfizer vaccines are due to arrive on Monday.