By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Canadian Inquirer

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will get vaccinated against COVID-19 if “appropriate” vaccines “becomes available,” clarifying Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s pronouncement that the health chief is also expected to receive doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech.

“To clarify, he will be vaccinated when the appropriate vaccine becomes available, following of course the prioritization framework,” DOH said in a Viber message to reporters.

The DOH Communications Management Unit stressed Duque was not and will not be vaccinated with Sinovac vaccine.

“No, SOH (Secretary of Health) was not and will not be vaccinated,” a staff at the DOH Communications Management Unit told reporters in a separate message when asked if Duque was vaccinated against Covid-19 on the first day of the inoculation day.

Duque was among the guests on the first day of vaccination at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City.

During the media conference at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Roque said Duque was among who are expected to receive Sinovac jabs.

“Ang alam ko po si Secretary Duque. Si Secretary Galvez, although as I said, he opted na mauna na muna ‘yung mga frontliners,” Roque said when asked who among the Duterte Cabinet members will be included as beneficiaries of the China-donated Covid-19 jab.

“Si Secretary Duque po nasa Lung Center, inaasahan rin nating magpapabakuna,” Roque added.

On Sunday night, DOH said Duque, with 64 years of age, will not get Sinovac’s CoronaVac because of the age restriction recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the vaccine made in China.

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo earlier said CoronaVac should only be administered to clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59, as the vaccine showed higher efficacy rates in this age group based on clinical trials in Indonesia and Turkey.

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