MANILA - The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can issue special permits for groups who want to avail of COVID-19 vaccines, even without an emergency use authorization.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo on Monday night said special permits can be given for small groups or for small quantities of vaccines.
"If it's going to be a smaller group po, for example po 'yung PSG (Presidential Security Group), and priority naman po talaga nila na kayo ay proteksiyonan, then we can give po compassionate special permit for this," he said, in response to a question from President Rodrigo Duterte.
(If it's going to be a smaller group, for example, the PSG, we can give a compassionate special permit for them since it is their priority to protect you.)
Domingo also said that permits for small quantities of vaccine can be given since the inoculation can be done in a hospital and can be administered safely by doctors.
"Kasi maliit lang naman po 'yun, (It's just a small group) the hospital can take care of it, and the doctor can administer them safely," he said.
"For small quantities, kahit wala pang (even if there is no) emergency use authorization, we can do special permits for that," Domingo added.
The FDA earlier said unauthorized use of COVID-19 vaccine is illegal, as it has yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccine candidate for local use.
During his weekly public address, Duterte defended the PSG vaccination against COVID-19.
He also ordered members of the PSG to withhold information about the smuggled COVID-19 vaccines they received last year.
Citing national security, PSG commander Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III admitted last week that members of the president's security group has already been inoculated.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said some soldiers and PSG members were inoculated with the vaccine candidate of Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm, adding they were among the first to get the vaccine because they are frontliners.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later said authorities are investigating how the vaccines got past border inspection.
While the use of vaccines was unauthorized, Lorenzana believed the early inoculation of members of the PSG was "justified".