By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

Malacañang said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte is part of the coronavirus vaccination priority due to his age, even after the President refused to get vaccinated publicly to boost Filipino’s vaccine confidence.

"Ang Presidente will enjoy priority dahil nga po siya ay senior citizen. Pero siyempre, importante na magbakuna rin siya para sa vaccine confidence. Inaasahan po natin na isa siya sa mga pinakauna,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.

"Whether it is done privately or publicly will be his decision," Roque added.

According to Roque, the first family will not be part of the list “unless there is cormodibity.”

"Pero dahil mga public officials po ang anak ng ating Pangulo, baka naman makipagtulungan din sila para ma-boost po ang vaccine confidence. Pero wala pa pong petsa kung kailan at kung sila po ay papayag na mauna," he said.

Earlier, Roque said Duterte would get vaccinated privately because the doses would be injected on his buttocks.

He denied that Duterte refused to get jabs publicly because the President supposedly receive the doses with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) team last year.

Duterte, who has medical issues, belongs to vulnerable groups of developing severe respiratory disease symptoms.

Photos from the vaccination drives of other countries showed that people typically received the jabs on their upper arm. 

Other world leaders like US President Joe Biden, Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong got vaccinated in public. 

The Philippines aims to launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive this month, and cover up to 70 million people through the year.