Palace ‘no reaction’ to Mon Tulfo’s vaccination of smuggled Sinopharm jab
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday distanced itself from columnist Mon Tulfo’s vaccination using smuggled Covid-19 vaccines made by China’s Sinopharm, saying it will just let the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Ombudsman investigate.
“Wala pong ganiyang polisiya dahil kung may ganiyan pong polisiya, siguro commercial quantity na ang kumalat noong mga bakuna na hindi naaprubahan. Pero inaantay po talaga natin ang aksiyon ng FDA sa mga bagay-bagay na ito,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing Wednesday when sought to comment on the issue.
(There’s no policy as such. If there’s any, maybe there’s already a commercial quantity of the vaccine that has yet to be approved. We’re waiting for FDA’s action on this matter.)
Tulfo, the country’s special envoy to China, admitted in his newspaper column that he was vaccinated against Covid-19 in October 2020 along with other officials.
He even said he was willing to give up his special envoy post to become a local distributor of Sinopharm’s vaccine.
The FDA has since said it will probe Tulfo’s vaccination.
“Wala po akong reaksyon dyan dahil sa panahon ng pandemya, naiintindihan ko po na talagang maraming gusto magkaroon ng proteksyon pero ang sinasabi natin sa lahat, antayin po natin na dumaan sa proseso for our own interest,” Roque said.
(I don’t have any reaction to that because, during times of a pandemic, I understand that some want to have protection but what we’re saying is, it should undergo the process for our own interest.)
“We have no opinion whatsoever, we leave that to the Ombudsman,” he continued.
Roque kept mum when pressed to comment on Tulfo’s claim that President Rodrigo Duterte had already spoken with the supposed local representative of Sinopharm to ask for its Covid-19 vaccine.
“Now, whether or not he has talked to a representative, hindi ko po alam. If I will admit, I was in this adjacent room when Mon Tulfo was there but I could not really hear what they were discussing ‘no,” Roque said.
“Pero sa akin, I don’t understand the big deal about the Mon Tulfo write-up. That’s an account of Mon Tulfo and if you want verification please contact Mon Tulfo because I cannot answer on his behalf,” he added.
Malacañang previously said President Rodrigo Duterte prefers to receive the vaccine developed by Sinopharm.
However, FDA said Sinopharm has yet to apply for an emergency use authorization or EUA that would allow it to have its Covid-19 vaccine administered to local patients.
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