COVID-19

Duterte wants to receive Sinovac vaccine shots ‘in private’

Pia Ranada
Duterte wants to receive Sinovac vaccine shots ‘in private’

VACCINE TALK. President Rodrigo Duterte now wants his COVID-19 vaccination done in private.

Malacañang photo

Yet just a few months ago, President Rodrigo Duterte had vowed to get publicly injected with a Russian vaccine

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to get vaccinated with Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, but that he wants the shots administered away from the public eye.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press conference on Tuesday, January 19, that this was Duterte’s preference.

Asked if the Chief Executive would receive shots of CoronaVac, the name of Sinovac’s vaccine, Roque said, “Opo (Yes), and his answer was, ‘No problem, I will take the vaccine as soon as it’s available.'”

An initial 50,000 doses of CoronaVac are expected to arrive in the Philippines in mid-February. But while the government has signed a term sheet with Sinovac, the vaccine has yet to get approval for emergency use from the Food and Drug Administration.

Roque said Duterte “really needs” to be given the vaccine. The President is 75 years old and is known to have several ailments.

No live, public vaccination

However, Duterte now wants a private vaccination even if months ago, he had announced he would get publicly injected with Sputnik V, the vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

This time, the President says a public inoculation is unnecessary.

“He said there’s no need to make it public. He’s taking the route of the British sovereign, because Queen Elizabeth and her husband decided to make their vaccination a private affair,” said Roque in Filipino.

Buckingham Palace had informed the British people of the vaccination of the Queen and Prince Philip after the fact.

Roque said Malacañang would also inform the public when Duterte gets vaccinated.

The Palace’s remarks are very different from what Duterte said in August.

“Ako, pagdating ng bakuna in public, para walang satsat diyan, in public magpa-injection ako. Ako ‘yung maunang ma-eksperimentuhan,” he said.

(Me, when it comes to public vaccination, so no one will doubt, I will get injected in public. I will be the first to get experimented on.)

Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo was vaccinated with CoronaVac on live television from inside the state palace last Thursday, January 14.

It was partly to encourage more Indonesians to get vaccinated.

Vice President Leni Robredo previously said that Filipinos seeing Duterte getting vaccinated might boost the government’s immunization campaign and assuage people’s doubts about vaccines.

With a target of vaccinating 70 million Filipinos in 2021, the government has identified healthcare workers, government frontliners, the elderly, and indigent population as priority recipients of COVID-19 vaccines. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.