By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin/PCOO

Instead of receiving coronavirus vaccines developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted seeking another vaccine brand for him, his family and possibly, for some of his members of the Cabinet.

Duterte made the admittance after expressing readiness to get vaccinated to enhance protection against COVID-19.

However, Duterte did not mention any brand but Malacañang earlier mentioned the 75-year old President prefers to receive vaccines from Sinopharm. The Chief Executive also disclosed his doctors advised him to wait for specific brand due to his age.

“Ako, naghingi ako, personal. Wala silang stock na ano eh. Naghingi ako para sa pamilya ko pati sa akin,” Duterte said in a media conference on Sunday.

“I don’t know if we would have enough vaccines for everybody but I think I can accommodate the — itong Cabinet members,” he added.

Duterte is not among the first Sinovac recipients as he is awaiting for another Chinese brand as advised by doctors.

“My doctor has in mind. It’s a Chinese brand still pero hindi ito. Siya ‘yong nakaalam ng constitution ng katawan ko,” he said.

The President made the remarks a few days after former special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo revealed Duterte’s preference for the Sinopharm vaccine. The newspaper columnist also bared he arranged a phone call between the President and a Sinopharm representative and that the former asked for vaccines for him and his family.

Sinopharm has yet to secure an emergency use approval for its vaccines in the country. The Food and Drug Administration however allowed the Presidential Security Group to secure Sinopharm vaccines under a compassionate use license. The Palace earlier said the legal team was studying if the President can get the Sinopharm vaccine under such compassionate use permit.

Even though he won’t get Sinovac jabs, the Chief Executive assured the vaccines are effective against the infectious disease.

“I am giving the guarantee that it is effective. That efficacy is good,” Duterte said.

Duterte also encouraged the public to get inoculated, telling them to have advice from their doctors on which vaccine brands they will receive.

“Ngayon, ‘yong ayaw magpabakuna, wala akong magawa para sa or you might want at least you know in your lifetime, may kilala kang doktor, magtanong ka na lang sa doktor kung anong mabuti sa iyo,” he said.

He noted that although senior citizens like him are “discouraged” from getting the vaccine, he is prepared to get vaccinated. 

“Pero ako, since I get to go around and meet people to travel, baka kailangan ko,” the President added.

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