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PH netizens ask: Has Duterte been vaccinated for COVID-19 ahead of front-liners?

He dropped what was supposed to be a hypothetical question that has had netizens puzzled.

“Ako ang may problema ngayon. For example lang, pwede akong magpabakuna ulit pagdating ng Pfizer (vaccine)?”

This one statement from President Rodrigo Duterte has baffled netizens across the country.

Duterte posed this question to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo during the IATF weekly meeting on the country’s COVID-19 situation.

The question posed by Duterte would stir up rumors of him being inoculated with China’s Sinovac vaccine, which health experts have cautioned against because of inaccurate efficacy reports.

This had netizens asking all sorts of questions, from highlighting the ulit part—implying he has gotten a shot of Sinovac—to asking whether he could take the Pfizer vaccine if it arrives in the country, raising concerns about how much trust he has with Sinovac.

Malacañang would, of course, come to Duterte’s aid and say they have “no personal knowledge” on whether or not the President has indeed been vaccinated.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año would also chime in, saying Duterte’s doctors do not want him being injected with any vaccines not approved by the FDA.

“Si Presidente mismo nagsasabi sa amin na gusto niya pero ang advice ng doktor niya ay huwag. Talagang hindi pa siya nagpapabakuna, ayaw ng mga doktor niya,” Año said during an interview with DZMM.

Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Edsel Salvana, on the other hand, advised people against vaccination drives from non-FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

“I urge everyone to stay away from those, kasi (because) you are literally putting your life at risk if you take unregulated medicine, especially COVID vaccine,” Salvana said during a media forum on Sunday, December 27.

The DOH itself has also cautioned the public against being inoculated by any vaccine that has not received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA.

“DOH maintains that all vaccines should undergo the evaluation and regulatory process of our regulatory and expert bodies,” the health department said in a statement. They added that only those who have gone through the scrutiny of the FDA should be administered to the public.

According to reports, only Pfizer has applied for a EUA, which could be issued by January 2021. Pfizer applied for its EUA last December 23.

Domingo said they would base their assessment of giving a EUA to Pfizer on similar EUAs issued by regulatory boards in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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