Duterte's Sinopharm jab to boost public confidence in Chinese-made vaccines — Palace

Published May 24, 2021, 6:06 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

More people will hopefully be persuaded to receive Chinese-made vaccines after President Duterte got the first shot of the Sinopharm jab, according to a Palace official.

President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the arrival of Sinovac coronavirus vaccines at the Bulwagang Kalayaan in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City on February 28, 2021. (Malacañang)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque expressed optimism about the impact of the President’s vaccination, saying Duterte preferred the vaccine made by a Chinese firm over a western company.

Roque issued the statement when asked about the apparent double standard applied in the government’s plea against vaccine brand preference. The President was able to choose his vaccine brand but the Palace has repeatedly asked people not be to choosy and just take whatever jab that is offered.

“Let’s put it in context – hindi po namili ang Presidente ng stateside na brand; ang pinili po niya ay Chinese brand din (The President did not choose a stateside brand. He chose the Chinese brand),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday, May 24.

“At ang problema natin ngayon ay tila marami talaga ang gusto ay stateside na mga bakuna. So I think iyong pagpapabakuna ni Presidente ng isang Chinese vaccine will also bolster confidence doon sa mga Chinese-made vaccines (And our problem now is many prefers stateside vaccines. I think the President’s vaccination with a Chinese vaccine will also bolster confidence in the Chinese-made vaccines),” he said.

The President got his first shot of the Sinopharm vaccine on May 3 after receiving an advice from his doctor to get inoculated. The vaccination, administered by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, was reportedly carried out under the compassionate use permit obtained by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) from the local drug regulators.

A fews days later, the President apologized for getting the unregistered vaccine and asked China to take back 1,000 donated Sinopharm vaccines. He accepted criticisms about the risky use of the unapproved vaccine. The Palace later said the President is still expected to get his second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine.

After many people were seen crowding vaccination sites offering Pfizer jabs, the government has decided to stop announcing the vaccine brand to be administered.

The President has also directed authorities to distribute sought-after Pfizer vaccines donated by COVAX facility to the indigent population. The US-made vaccines must be distributed in poor communities with low vaccine uptake instead of shopping malls based on the President’s directive.

Roque meantime renewed his appeal to the public to get vaccinated once the opportunity comes. He said vaccines, approved for emergency use in the country, have been proven safe and effective to fight the coronavirus.

“Ako po, ang personal choice ko kung papipiliin ako, Sinovac po (If I’ll be asked to choose, my personal choice is Sinovac),” Roque said.

He added that his vaccination did not push since he was infected with COVID.