Up to Duterte if he wants to get first jab of Covid-19 vaccine in PH — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — After making a turnabout last week, Palace said on Monday that the decision on whether President Rodrigo Duterte will agree to receive the first shots of Covid-19 vaccine in the Philippines to inspire public confidence is completely up to him.
“Hintayin nalang po natin kung ano talaga ang magiging personal na desisyon ng Presidente,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.
Duterte initially said he is willing to be the first one to be injected with the coronavirus vaccine to prove its efficacy and safety. The President said this in August 2020, particularly referring to Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine.
But his tone changed last week after the government secured vaccine supplies from China’s Sinovac Biotech, saying that government officials will be the last in line.
Vaccinating Duterte first against the coronavirus disease will help boost the public’s confidence in the vaccination program, Vice President Leni Robredo said as she noted that the President remains very popular based on recent surveys.
“Sobrang popular ni Pangulo, so makakatulong sana to boost ‘yung confidence ng ating mga kababayan kung makita siya [magpabakuna],” Robredo said in her Sunday radio program.
A Pulse Asia survey conducted between Nov. 23 and Dec. 2, found that only 32% of 2,400 respondents said they would agree to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots when available, while nearly half or 47% said they would refuse due to safety concerns. The remaining 21% were undecided.
According to the government’s vaccination plan, healthcare workers, senior citizens, poor Filipinos and uniformed personnel are among the priority sectors while Metro Manila, the Cordillera Administrative Region, Calabarzon, Davao Region, and Cebu City are identified as priority areas due to high incidence of coronavirus infection.
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