President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that many Filipinos, including some from the military, have already received a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm even as it has yet to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"Sabihin ko sa iyo, marami na ang nagpa-injection dito sa Sinopharm... Halos lahat ng sundalo natusukan na," Duterte told FDA Director-General Eric Domingo during their meeting with Cabinet officials on Saturday night.
"I have to be frank and I have to tell the truth. I will not foist a lie. Marami nang nagpatusok and lahat," he added.
However, Domingo told Duterte that they have yet to arrest any individuals involved in the alleged administration of such vaccine to Filipinos.
"Wala nga po kaming mahuli. Naka-tatlong raid na po kami sa Makati at saka sa Binondo pero wala naman po kaming nahuli pa," Domingo told the President.
Duterte earlier said that he wants the police and the military to be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it becomes available, saying he needs them to be healthy.
The President maintained this stance during the meeting.
"Gusto ko mauna sila because I do not want a sickly armed forces and a sickly police. The reason why is that they have to be in good health all the time because they are responsible for the law and order of this country," he said.
Over a million people have already taken Sinopharm in emergency use, the experimental vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group, and has been approved in other countries such as Bahrain.
In Peru, however, clinical trials were temporarily suspended after neurological problems were detected in one of the test volunteers, which could correspond to a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome. — DVM, GMA News