President Rodrigo Duterte, through the “compassionate” use license granted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), might get inoculated with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine developed by China’s state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm, Malacañang said Thursday.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Office of the President’s legal office is currently studying whether there is a “legal basis” to administer the Sinopharm vaccine to Duterte.
Roque, a lawyer, believed Duterte is qualified to receive vaccine shots from Sinopharm under the compassionate use license since he is the commander-in-chief of the military.
“It’s still being studied by the Malacañang legal office. If you ask me as a lawyer, he is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and he should be allowed to use the Sinopharm under the compassionate use license,” he said.
Duterte prefers to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine from Sinopharm. However, the Chinese drugmaker has yet to secure an emergency use authorization from FDA.
FDA has only issued a compassionate use license for the administration of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to the members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
The PSG has yet to receive the vaccines from Sinopharm, Roque said.
“Maski naman po meron ng compassionate use ang Sinopharm, I confirm po with the PSG na hindi pa nila natatanggap yung 10,000 na order nila ng Sinopharm (While the compassionate use of Sinopharm vaccines has been granted, I confirm that the PSCG have not received the 10,000 doses it ordered from Sinopharm yet),” he said.
Newspaper columnist Ramon Tulfo, who also serves as Duterte’s special envoy to China, revealed on Feb. 20 that the President was able to talk to the “Sinopharm representative in the country” and even made a request for samples of vaccines shots for him and his family.
Roque, however, denied Wednesday that Duterte directly negotiated with Sinopharm.
Amid the pending arrival of Sinopharm vaccines, the Philippine government is expecting the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech to the country on Feb. 28.
Asked if Duterte is willing to get inoculated with Sinovac, Roque said: “It’s up to the President pa rin kung magpapaturok siya ng Sinovac (if he wants to get inoculated with Sinovac vaccine) although he has expressed his preference for Sinopharm.” (PNA)