Leni Robredo

Robredo gets AstraZeneca vaccine, urges Filipinos to get jabbed, too

Mara Cepeda
Robredo gets AstraZeneca vaccine, urges Filipinos to get jabbed, too

VACCINATED. Vice President Leni Robredo receives her first dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on May 19, 2021.

Photo courtesy of Robredo's Facebook page

Vice President Leni Robredo, who has hypertension, is part of the A3 priority group for COVID-19 vaccines

Vice President Leni Robredo received her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and urged Filipinos to join the government’s immunization program to protect themselves against the virus.

Robredo got vaccinated at the Pinyahan Elementary School in Quezon City on Wednesday, May 19, as part of the A3 priority group or those who have comorbidities. 

The comorbidity of Robredo, 56, is hypertension.

The Vice President was vaccinated along with 17 other employees from her office who belong to the same priority group. The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is located in New Manila, Quezon City.

In convincing hesitant Filipinos to get their COVID-19 jabs, Robredo said some of the OVP staff members she was with were initially scared of the injection.

But after getting their first dose, these OVP employees showed confidence because they knew they are now one step closer to becoming better protected against COVID-19. 

“Magbakuna na rin kayo para protektado kayo at ang lahat ng nakakasalamuha nyo. Tingnan nyo ‘yung group pic namin. Maraming takot sa umpisa pero may konting yabang na nung nagpakuha ng litrato,” said the Vice President. 

(Get vaccinated as well so you and everyone you will be interacting with will be protected. Look at our group picture. Many of them were scared at first but showed some pride while taking the photo after the vaccination.)

Robredo shared the story of one of her office drivers, Julius, who took a long time to be convinced before he finally agreed to get his COVID-19 vaccine. The Vice President said Julius’ COVID-19 dose on Wednesday was his first injection ever. 

“Katabi ko sa picture si Julius. Isa sa mga office drivers. Ayaw na ayaw dati. Mahabang kumbinsihan. In fact, sinasabi niya kanina, magre-retire na lang siya. Ngayon tapos na kami. Happy na siya. Sabi niya, first time in his life siya na inject, said the Vice President. 

(Beside me in the picture is Julius. He is one of our office drivers. He did not want to be vaccinated before. It took us a long time to convince him. In fact, he was even saying earlier that he would just retire. But now, we’re done with our first dose. He’s happy now. He said this is the first time in his life to be injected.)

Robredo has long been willing to be given her vaccine shots in public if it would help encourage more Filipinos to get immunized against COVID-19.

In February, Robredo released a Facebook video in the style of Vogue magazine’s “73 Questions” to help quell vaccine fears.

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The Vice President, however, did not immediately sign up for Quezon City’s vaccination program as the initial delivery of vaccine supplies from AstraZeneca and Chinese firm Sinovac were limited.

Robredo finally signed up for a vaccination slot on May 13 after new vaccine doses arrived in the Philippines

The Vice President has also said she would only sign up to get a vaccine that has received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AstraZeneca was granted an EUA in January.

This is an apparent swipe at President Rodrigo Duterte, who received his first dose of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in early May, even without an EUA from the FDA. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.