Palace: Duterte vaccination not illegal; donated Sinopharm shot used
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s inoculation with a COVID-19 vaccine that has not been cleared for emergency use in the country is not illegal as it did not violate any laws in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the vaccine from Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm that the President received on Monday was covered by compassionate use.
He also insisted that the vaccine dose was not smuggled as it was among the 1,000 additional shots donated by the Chinese government.
“It’s covered by compassionate use so as far as the President is concerned, he did not violate any laws because precisely it was administered by Presidential Security Group (PSG) hospital although physically administrated by the Health Secretary himself,” he said in a Palace briefing.
“So covered ‘yan ng compassionate use permit so walang nalabag ng ating Presidente at yung supply naman ay nanggaling sa additional 1,000 donation ng Chinese government to the Philippine government,” he added.
(That is covered by the compassionate use permit so the President did not commit any violation and the supply came from the additional 1,000 [vaccines] donated by the Chinese government.)
The Food and Drug Administration in February granted a compassionate use permit for 10,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.
Roque earlier said the President could be covered in the compassionate use permit since he is the chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Palace spokesman said he did not know when the 1,000 doses of Sinopharm shots arrived in the Philippines. The 10,000 Sinopharm doses meant for the PSG has also not arrived yet in the country, he added.
For his part, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the 1,000 doses donated by the Chinese government arrived alongside the 500,000 doses of vaccines from Chinese drugmaker Sinovac BioTech. He, however, did not say which batch of delivery was this.
Roque said he did not observe any adverse reaction on the President after receiving a shot since he was able to attend a meeting after the inoculation.
“In terms sa adverse reaction, wala po akong nakitang adverse reaction kasi matapos magpabakuna, pumunta siya sa pagpupulong namin [I did not notice any adverse reaction (on the President) because he even came to our meeting],” Roque said.
Duterte may get his second dose of the vaccine after one month, he added.
Duterte’s inoculation with a still-unregistered vaccine will not have any effect in the country’s vaccine confidence, Roque said.
“I don’t think it has any effect on vaccine confidence kasi nakikita naman ng taumbayan [because the people aee] that the best bakuna is the one that’s available,” he said.
“Hindi illegal ang paggamit ng Presidente dahil may compassionate use na in-issue para sa PSG hospital at hindi smuggled ang ginamit ni Presidente dahil ito ay donated ng Chinese government [The President’s vaccination is not illegal because there is a compassionate use issued by the PSG hospital and the President did not use a smuggled vaccine rather it is part of the donation from the Chinese government],” Roque further said.
So far, there are only five vaccine brands that have secured emergency use authorization in the country: Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, and India’s Covaxin.
China’s Sinopharm has yet to file its application for an emergency use authorization, Roque said.
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