President Rodrigo Duterte did not authorize the vaccination of soldiers with Sinopharm’s experimental vaccine against COVID-19, his spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.
“I don’t think so. It must have been the decision of the commanders and the soldiers,” Roque said at a news conference.
He added the vaccines may have been donated but he was not sure about the source.
Roque’s statement comes after Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said the vaccines came from the Armed Forces of the Philippines chain of command headed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was Duterte who disclosed to the nation last Saturday that some soldiers already received the vaccine developed by Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company.
Roque said the vaccination was purely voluntary.
“It was not mandatory; kung sino lang ‘yung gusto,” he said. “Kahit ikaw po ay isang sundalo, kung ayaw mo talagang magpakuna, kahit anong brand ng bakuna ‘yan, hindi ka po mapipilit.”
Sinopharm’s vaccine has yet to secure emergency use authorization from the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration.—AOL, GMA News