MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte will be seeking his physician’s opinion about which coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine brand to get as the first vaccine doses arrive this month, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Duterte, in several speeches, has been very vocal about his preference to be inoculated with vaccines including those made by either Chinese or Russian developers.
However, the first vaccine doses arriving will be coming from America’s Pfizer and British-Swedish AstraZeneca.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President will still have to discuss the matter with his physician.
“Let’s just say this issue will have to be discussed by the President with his physician. He is, of course, under advice of his physician,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
He also noted that his physician would also take into consideration the framework developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
“Within the framework given by the FDA, kasi hindi ko pa alam kung ano ang magiging desisyon talaga ng FDA kung hanggang anong edad ibigay, anong klaseng bakuna (because I don’t know what the decision of the FDA will be in terms of which ages will be allowed to be given vaccines, what kind of vaccines),” he said.
Duterte has repeatedly said that he prefers China and Russia because of their “generosity” to the Philippines during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In August last year, Duterte expressed willingness to get injected in public with a vaccine that will be donated by the Russian government to the Philippines.
Duterte also initially said he would take the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine to boost vaccine confidence in those hesitant to be inoculated.
On Jan. 13, he said that he and other government officials are ready to be the last in line to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to give way to priority groups like healthcare workers and uniformed personnel.
Roque said Duterte will be “taking the route” of United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, who were inoculated with vaccine doses in private.
He said the Palace will just make an announcement after Duterte’s vaccination.
The government is in talks to secure vaccines from seven companies namely Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax, Sinovac, Gamaleya, and Johnson & Johnson.
The first 117,000 doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine will arrive in the Philippines in mid-February, courtesy of the COVAX facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Covid-19 referral hospitals in Metro Manila will be prioritized for this supply.
The country is expected to receive at least 5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX next.
Currently, only Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been cleared for emergency use by the FDA Philippines. (PNA)