FROM his own admission, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque is not taking a shot of the China-made CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine by Sinovac, notwithstanding the order of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte who ordered Cabinet members to take the first jabs to boost public confidence on the mass vaccination.
However, Roque, a lawyer, has an alibi. According to him, even if he wanted to, he won’t be getting a shot of the China-made dose because it runs against the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) for health workers and those employees in health facilities to be inoculated first.
“Gusto ko po talaga magpabakuna, kasi hindi po pumayag ang NITAG. Kahapon po, sa PGH, naghanda na nga po ako,” Roque said.
“Sabi ng NITAG, ang magpapaturok muna [dapat] ay medical frontliners. Hindi na ako nakipagtalo. Susunod po ako diyan para wala ng away. Kapag pupuwede na po, kami po ni Dr. Lulu Bravo, mukhang sasabay na ako sa kanila,” the Palace spokesperson added.
Bravo is a vaccine expert from the UP-PGH and UP College of Medicine. She is 71-years old.
So far, only the 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Chinese government arrived on Sunday afternoon has remained the only available vaccine in the country, after the supposed delivery of over half a million doses of AstraZeneca jabs was deferred indefinitely.
Pressed to elaborate on the deferment of his vaccine shot, Roque admitted that the government initially asked NITAG to reserve Sinovac jabs for at least 50 influencers, which includes Duterte and himself. The idea of getting 50 top personalities [public officials, showbiz personalities and journalists] taking the first jabs is to boost the public confidence amid survey results that see one of 10 Filipinos willing to be injected using the low-efficacy China-made vaccines.