It was President Rodrigo Duterte’s “personal decision” to receive the first dose of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine in private, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte need not explain why the latter decided to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. in private.
“That’s his personal decision. I don’t think he has to explain,” Roque said.
In August last year, Duterte expressed willingness to get injected in public with a vaccine that will be donated by the Russian government to the Philippines.
Duterte also initially said he would take the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine in a bid to convince his fellow Filipinos that vaccines jabs are safe and effective.
He, however, said on Jan. 13 that he and other government officials are ready to be the last in line to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to give way to priority groups like healthcare workers and uniformed personnel.
On Tuesday, Roque explained that Duterte will be “taking the route” of United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, who were inoculated with vaccine doses in private.
Roque added that the Palace will just make an announcement after Duterte’s vaccination.
The Philippines is set to spend around PHP82.5 billion for the procurement of 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from seven pharmaceutical firms, including China’s Sinovac and the United States’ Pfizer.
Vaccine schedule in February
The government has so far secured around 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccine, with the first 50,000 doses set to arrive on Feb. 20.
It has also inked term sheet deals with pharmaceutical companies Novovax, Moderna, and AstraZeneca for the delivery of 30 million doses, 20 million doses, and 17 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, respectively.
Roque pinned hope that the administration of Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines would begin by February.
“We’re hoping that both, they can start in the month of February,” he said. (PNA)
Photo Credit: www.pcoo.gov.ph