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Duterte willing to take first vaccine shot to allay public fear —Palace

President Rodrigo Duterte may again volunteer to be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in the country if ever there will be widespread public apprehension toward the vaccine, Malacañang said Monday.

"Kung sa tingin niya (President Duterte) ay natatakot ang mga tao sa bakuna ay hindi naman po siya mag-aatubili na mauna," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Unang Balita.

He appealed to the public to wait for the President’s decision on the matter.

"Antayin na lang po natin kung ano talaga ang magiging personal na desisyon ng Presidente. If he wants it public, well, seeing the President being vaccinated is proof of the pudding," Roque said during his regular press briefing on Monday.

Roque was reacting to Vice President Leni Robredo's statement that the President should be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot to boost the public's confidence in vaccinations.

Robredo issued the statement after Duterte, in a public address last week, said he would be among the last to take the vaccine, as the priority should be the medical frontliners and the vulnerable sectors.

"Basta ang sa kaniya, interes ng taumbayan bago ang interes ng mga nakaupo," Roque said in explaining Duterte's decision to be among the last to take the vaccine.

Duterte's latest statement contradicted his earlier remarks that he'd be among the first to get inoculated against COVID-19 once a vaccine is available in the country.

Roque said it is not impossible for Duterte to revert to his previous pronouncement.

"Pero kung imporante po yan (una sa bakuna) talaga para magkaroon ng kumpiyansa ang taumbayan, iniisip ko naman po hindi imposible yan dahil minsan na rin yang sinabi ng Presidente," he said.

The Philippines is expecting its first COVID-19 vaccine supply by February.

A recent non-commissioned survey by OCTA Research showed only one out of four Metro Manila respondents are willing to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19.

The survey was conducted from December 9 to 13, 2020.  —with Virgil Lopez/KBK/RSJ, GMA News