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Roque: Duterte’s decision not to get a COVID-19 vaccine only temporary

President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision not to take a COVID-19 vaccine is only temporary, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Tuesday.

Roque was referring to the comments made by the President that he is willing to waive his COVID-19 vaccine, saying that he being a senior citizen, is not a priority anyway.

“We are not a priority anyway. Ang unahin natin iyong mabubuhay pa. Come to think of it. Ang unahin natin na medyo kapag nabigyan na ng vaccine there is a chance that he would live and live productively,” the Chief Executive said Monday night.

The country’s COVID-19 vaccination program lists senior citizens like him as second in line in getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Panandaliang sentimiyento po ng Presidente ang sinabi niya kagabi dahil hindi pa sapat ang ating mga bakuna. I hope that will change kapag mas marami na tayong supply sa Mayo at Hunyo,” Roque said.

(It was a temporary sentiment from the President because we don’t have enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines at this point. I hope that will change once we have more COVID-19 vaccine supplies.)

“Siguro 'pag dumagsa na ang supply at kinakailangang madaliin ang pagbakuna sa lahat, dun po magpapabakuna ang Presidente,” he added.

(Maybe if there is a steady stream of COVID-19 vaccine supply and there is a need to speed up the vaccination of everybody, then that is the time that the President will get vaccinated.)

Roque earlier said the President will take his COVID-19 vaccine in public to boost vaccine confidence.

Roque then argued that vaccine confidence is not a concern at this point.

“Hindi naman po problema ang vaccine confidence kasi wala pa naman tayong masyadong [vaccine] supply,” he said.

(Vaccine confidence is not a concern since we have limited vaccine supply.)

So far, three million of the 3,025, 600 doses of the Philippines’s COVID-19  vaccine supply are from the Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech Ltd. 

The rest are AstraZeneca, a COVID-19 vaccine brand jointly developed by the British government and Oxford University.

The Philippine population is around 110 million. — RSJ, GMA News