Duterte okay to get Covid-19 vaccine but in private, says Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to be vaccinated against Covid-19 “as soon as it is available” in the country but the inoculation will be done in private, his spokesman said Tuesday.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the President is taking the route of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, in taking the vaccine jabs in private.
“His answer was, ‘no problem. I will take the vaccine as soon as it is available’. Dahil siya nga daw po ay talagang kailangan niyang magkaroon ng bakuna,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
“Pero ang sabi niya, hindi na kinakailangang ipakita ito sa publiko. He’s taking the route of the British sovereign, dahil naging desisyon po nila Queen Elizabeth at ng kanyang asawa na pribado iyong pagtuturok sa kanila,” he added.
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 officials will be the last in line.
As for Vice President Leni Robredo, however, vaccinating Duterte first against the coronavirus disease will help boost the public’s confidence in the vaccination program, noting that the President remains very popular based on recent surveys.
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.