Lorenzana on vaccines used by PSG personnel: 'Smuggled, kasi hindi authorized'

 By Deighton Acuin

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (PHOTO: Defense PH)

COVID-19 vaccines that are used to vaccinate members of Presidential Security Group (PSG) were smuggled since it has no approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Wednesday.

In a ceremony marking the death anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal at Manila, Lorenzana said the PSG should provide an explanation even it was meant for protecting President Rodrigo Duterte.

'Yes, smuggled kasi hindi authorized. Only the government can authorize diyan," Lorenzana told reporters, according to GMA News reporter Bam Alegre.

However, Lorenzana said there is no security breach on PSG's inoculation, adding the good intentions of the security group.

He said that he only knew the information about the vaccination just after the personnel got the vaccine shots. However, he is not privy with the vaccine sources.

PSG Chief Jesus Durante earlier confirmed that his unit got the vaccines for free,  but he did not mentioned where the vaccines came from.

Durante said the PSG did its own research as regards which vaccine to acquire for the close-in security personnel of the President.

The defense secretary underscored the importance of FDA policies on following strict measures, noting that vaccines, health products, and even food products must undergo safety evaluation before consumption.

He added the FDA must hasten its vaccine approvals in the Philippines.

"Ang dapat gawin ng FDA, madaliin pag-approve para makapag-import na legitimate importers and government kasi nagva-vaccine na sa ibang lugar. FDA should fast-track," Lorenzana said.

The FDA has yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccine in the country. It noted that donated vaccines still require clearances, noting that the PSG's procurement of vaccines was a breach of the regulatory process.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said that as far as the agency is concerned, procured or donated vaccines and related health products should undergo  registration process before its distribution.



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