President Rodrigo Duterte will not be attending the ceremonial turnover of other Covid-19 vaccine brands to the Philippines, Malacañang said Monday.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s attendance at the arrival of China’s Sinovac-made “CoronaVac” vaccines purchased by the Philippine government on March 29 will be the last.
“Sinabi po ni Presidente na iyong huling pagdating ng Sinovac eh baka iyon na rin po iyong huli niyang pagsalubong sa mga bakuna bagama’t inaasahan natin na sunud-sunod na po ang pagdating ng mga bakuna (The President said that the recent arrival of Sinovac might be the last time he will welcome the arrival of vaccines since he is expecting them to come continuously),” he said.
Roque explained that Duterte would not need to physically show up to welcome the arrival of other vaccine brands since it would be expected that more vaccines will be arriving amid efforts to boost production.
“Matter of course na marami nang bakunang darating ‘no as supplies ease up worldwide ‘no. So iyon lang po ‘yun, hindi na siya physically na pupunta sa airport para salubungin iyong mga bakuna (Matter of course that many vaccines are coming as supplies ease up worldwide. So that’s it, he won’t physically go to the airport to receive vaccines),” he added.
Roque assured that Duterte remains to be “as healthy as any 76-year-old could be” after celebrating his birthday on March 28.
“He retains to have a very active calendar and he continues to discharge the functions of the presidency at the time of the pandemic,” he said.
Duterte, the country’s oldest president, continues to attend public events in several parts of the country with low Covid-19 infections.
He said Duterte is “confident” to pursue public engagements amid the pandemic because the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and the Presidential Management Staff (MPS) are making sure that strict health protocols are being followed.
On March 29, Duterte welcomed the arrival of 1 million doses of CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine purchased by the government from Sinovac.
A total of PHP700-million was spent by the government for the purchase of the 1 million doses of CoronaVac. In total, the government intends to buy 25 million doses of CoronaVac.
He also welcomed the arrival of the 600,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccines donated by the Chinese government to the Philippines on Feb. 28 and the arrival of 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated to the Philippines through the World Health Organization-led COVAX Facility on March 4.
However, Duterte opted to skip the arrival of additional doses of both Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines. Instead, he sent representatives to welcome the arrival of the vaccines.
The Philippines aims to secure 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from several companies to inoculate an initial 50 to 70 million Filipinos this year.
The bulk of vaccine doses are expected to arrive by the second and third quarters of the year. (PNA)