Bato on getting unauthorized vaccine: 'FDA-approved or not, this is my life'

 By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa (PHOTO: Inquirer.net)

MANILA, Philippines — In an interview over DZMM “Teleradyo” on Saturday, Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa expressed his willingness to get inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine not yet authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if he would be offered one.

"Pagisipan ko. FDA-approved or hindi, buhay ko ito. Wala akong pakialam diyan sa FDA, kung approved nila o hindi ‘yan basta buhay ko nakasalalay, I have to decide for my own life," said Dela Rosa, who was once tested positive for COVID-19.

He clarified, however, that the vaccine should have been approved by regulators of other countries.

“Halimbawa, approved na sa China, hindi pa approved dito sa FDA natin, so kung approved na sa China, may sariling FDA yung sa China. Ang pag-approve ng FDA natin dito is more on formality na lang yan," the senator said.

“Halimbawa, galing sa Europe yan, di pa na-examine na test ng FDA dito, ‘di pa nila na-approve pero kung ito’y ginagamit na nila doon sa lugar nila, meaning may sarili silang FDA na nag-approve, then bahala na kayo diyan. Basta buhay ko ang nakataya dito. Desisyunan ko ito kung magbabakuna ako hindi. Kung may available (na vaccine)," he added.

Nevertheless, Dela Rosa stressed that he would prefer getting injected with a vaccine with a high efficacy rate.

The senator was asked the question in light of the controversy surrounding the early inoculation among President Rodrigo Duterte’s security personnel even as regulators in the Philippines have yet to authorize a vaccine for use.

The issue has now placed the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in hot water, with some lawmakers and sectors criticizing their inoculation considering that health workers are on top of the government’s priority list for vaccinations.

Meanwhile, the FDA said it would investigate the issue.

Several lawmakers also ired upon the controversial vaccination, saying that the law had been violated. But MalacaƱang insisted that it was not the case.

MalacaƱang also said there was no violation of the anti-graft law when PSG members received the vaccines because these were only “tokens” and no public funds were used for it.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said, however, that the COVID-19 vaccines were considered smuggled since the FDA had not authorized their use.

The Department of Justice has already ordered an investigation of the smuggling of COVID-19 vaccines into the country while the military said it would probe the early inoculation of the PSG guards.

In addition to this, regardless of whether the vaccines were gifted as the administration claims, Republic Act 9711, or FDA ACT of 2009, prohibits the entry of unregistered drugs into the Philippines: "The manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertisement, or sponsorship of any health product which, although requiring registration, is not registered with the FDA pursuant to this Act [ is prohibited]."


RELATED ARTICLE: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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