Palace: Duterte okay to get vaccinated but not televised

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Presidential Communications

Malacañang said Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to get vaccinated against COVID-19 “as soon as it is available” in the Philippines but the process will be done privately.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte is taking the same steps that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in taking the jabs privately.

“His answer was, ‘no problem. I will take the vaccine as soon as it is available’. Dahil siya nga daw po ay talagang kailangan niyang magkaroon ng bakuna,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

“Pero ang sabi niya, hindi na kinakailangang ipakita ito sa publiko. He’s taking the route of the British sovereign, dahil naging desisyon po nila Queen Elizabeth at ng kanyang asawa na pribado iyong pagtuturok sa kanila,” he added.

Earlier, Duterte initially said he is willing to get the first dose of vaccines to prove its safety and efficacy. 

However, his tone changed after the government already secured supplies from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac, adding the official are the last to receive the shots.

As for Vice President Leni Robredo, however, vaccinating Duterte first against the coronavirus disease will help boost the public’s confidence in the vaccination program, noting that the President remains very popular based on recent surveys.

A Pulse Asia survey conducted between Nov. 23 and Dec. 2, found that only 32% of 2,400 respondents said they would agree to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots when available, while nearly half or 47% said they would refuse due to safety concerns. The remaining 21% were undecided.

RELATED ARTICLE: Philippine Daily Inquirer