Malacañang's legal team is studying whether President Rodrigo Duterte can be administered with a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Sinopharm under a special permit for compassionate use, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.
Roque has earlier said the 75-year-old Duterte prefers to be inoculated with Sinopharm's vaccine.
“Pinag-aaralan po ng legal team if the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces [of the Philippines], can have Sinopharm under compassionate use,” Roque said.
“Wala pa pong desisyon.”
The government officially started on Monday its national vaccination program using Sinovac vaccines donated by China.
A vaccine needs to secure an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for it to be legally administered in the Philippines.
Sinopharm has yet to apply for an EUA before the FDA.
The FDA, however, can allow the use of the vaccine without EUA approval provided that the vaccine secured a compassionate use permit.
The issuance of compassionate use permit, however, does not amount to stamp of approval from the FDA.
Roque earlier said that the President prefers to be inoculated with a Sinopharm vaccine.
Former broadcaster Mon Tulfo, who has served as the country’s special envoy to China, has revealed that he, some senators and Cabinet members had received their two doses of smuggled Sinopharm vaccine in October 2020 and that Duterte also wanted to have the Sinopharm jab.
Roque could not say if Tulfo’s claims that the President wanted the same vaccine for his family members were true.
Nevertheless, Roque assured the public on Monday that the President will take his COVID-19 vaccine in public view.
“It will be in public, and you will be informed if there will be side effects on the President,” he said.
Roque, however, clarified that the Constitutional provision requiring disclosure of the President’s health condition has limits.
“Ang sinasabi po sa Konstitusyon, iyong kailangang sabihin ay seryosong pagkakasakit lamang,” Roque said.
Presidential Security Group commander Brigadier General Jesus Durante III admitted in December 2020 that they got vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Durante made the admission after Duterte claimed during a televised address that some members of the military received shots of COVID-19 vaccine supposedly manufactured by Sinopharm.
Durante said the vaccines they received were donated but he did not identify the source. —KBK, GMA News