Duterte fully vaccinated vs COVID — PSG chief

Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante III revealed that President Duterte has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since last month.

President Duterte receives the coronavirus vaccine from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on May 3, 2021 (File Photo from Sen. Go/Facebook)

Durante made the statement as the PSG prepares for Duterte's sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month.

In an interview with State-run PTV-4, Durante said President Duterte received his second shot of China's Sinopharm vaccine two weeks after his first one on May 3.

"Si Pangulo po ay vaccinated na po siya (The President is fully vaccinated)," he said.

"Fourteen days after yung activity, nagkaroon po siya ng second dose (after he received the first shot, he had his second dose)," he added.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, later on, confirmed that President Duterte has indeed completed his vaccination. However, he said it took place early this month.

"Gen. Durante has personal knowledge of second shot. It was given after EUA (emergency use authorization) was granted to Sinopharm," he said.

Durante's account implied that President Duterte completed his COVID-19 vaccination around May 17, two weeks after his first shot. This is weeks before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Sinopharm the EUA on June 7.

Roque had said that President Duterte decided to wait for the EUA to be granted before receiving his second dose of Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Durante said President Duterte being fully vaccinated was important because it would allow him to do his job well.

"Napakahalaga po nito, para lalo namin siyang maingatan, lalo na magagawa niya nang maayos at tuloy-tuloy ang kaniyang tungkulin, upang makapaglingkod sa ating mga kababayan (This is very important because it allows us to protect him more. He can now continuously perform his duties and serve the people)," he told PTV-4.

According to Durante, the PSG has been consistent in its strict enforcement of security, health, and safety protocols since the pandemic started in March last year.

"We never put our guards down from the very beginning. And we are proud to say that the President remains safe from the virus," he said.