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Duterte not backing out of Russian COVID-19 vaccination —Roque

President Rodrigo Duterte is not backing out from his earlier announcement that he is willing to have himself injected with Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine in public, his spokesperson Harry Roque said Saturday.

“Hindi po siya nag-back out. Sinabi lang po ng DOST (Department of Science and Technology) na ang kauna-unahang pagkakataon na puwede siyang magpaturok ay May 1,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

The President’s vaccination of Russia’s vaccine Sputnik V will only take place after the third stage of clinical trials, which will be done in both Manila and Moscow, the Palace official said.

On Monday, Duterte said he was willing to be the first to get the vaccine, and have himself injected in public.

Despite growing skepticism about the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, the country’s chief executive said he was willing to risk his life to take the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moscow. 

The Palace, however, said the President could only be injected with the Russian vaccine as early as May 1, provided that the vaccine is approved by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration. 

Russia became the first country to give regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine despite concerns that it may be putting national prestige before sound science and safety.

It named its vaccine Sputnik V, a reference to the world's first satellite and what Moscow sees as its success at becoming the first country to approve a vaccine. 

The World Health Organization and Russian health authorities are currently discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for Sputnik V. —KG, GMA News