Duque willing to receive China-made Covid-19 vaccine, but…

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III. (Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — While Health Secretary Francisco Duque III sees no problem with getting himself inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine from  Sinovac, age restriction may be an issue.

In an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo Friday morning, Duque was asked if he would be willing to receive Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine to raise public confidence.

“Pwede naman… Although of course nakalagay sa indication ng EUA (emergency use authorization) na in-issue ng [Food and Drug Administration] for 18 to 59 years of age [ang vaccine]. Eh 64 na ako, so kung susundin natin ‘yun, hindi dapat ako,” Duque responded.

(That could be.  Although according to the EUA issued by the FDA, the vaccine is for ages 18 to 59. But I’m already 64 so if we will follow that, I should not receive it.)

“Kasi pinagpapatuloy pa rin nila ‘yung mga pag-aaral nila sa mas matatanda kung ano bang epekto nitong bakuna. Pero sabi naman sa akin ni FDA Director General [Eric] Domingo, basta healthy ka na elderly, pwede,” he added.

A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

(Because they are still continuing their study on the effects of the vaccine on the older population. But DFA Director General Domingo told me that as long as you are a healthy elderly, it is allowed.)

In the same interview, Duque said that government officials cannot be first in line in the vaccination efforts as they will be dubbed as “VIP” by the public.

“Hindi pwedeng mauna [ang government officials]. Kasi kung mauuna kami, sasabihin na naman ng taumbayan, VIP,” Duque said.

(Government officials cannot be first in line because if we are first, the public will say we’re getting VIP treatment.)

“Ang hirap eh. Ang hirap i-position ‘yung sarili mo sa ganito dahil maya’t-maya mayroong babatikos sayo, may babanat sayo. So tingin ko ayan pag-uusapan maiigi ng IATF mamaya,” he added.

(It’s a difficult position because you frequently get criticized. I think that will be tackled in the IATF meeting later.)

Malacañang earlier announced that more than half a million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine are expected to arrive on February 28.