'Not impossible' for Duterte to get COVID-19 vaccine first, says spokesman

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2021 02:49 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the 50th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacanang Palace on Jan. 11, 2021. Albert Alcain, Presidential Photo

MANILA — It is "not impossible" for President Rodrigo Duterte to be the first to get vaccinated against COVID-19 even if he said that government officials would be the last to get jabs against the respiratory disease, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Duterte on Wednesday said frontline workers and the poor would be prioritized in the inoculation drive. 

"Huli na kami... Kung may maiwan, eh di para sa ‘tin," he said in a taped speech. 

(We will be last. If there are doses left, they would be for us.)

But his spokesman Harry Roque said: "Hindi pa po iyan sigurado."

(That is not yet certain.)

"Sinabi niya po iyon kagabi dahil ang mensahe niya, dapat mauna talaga ang mga dukha, mga mahihirap para mabigyan ng proteksyon," Roque told reporters in an online briefing. 

(He said that last night because his message is the indigents, the poor should be first so they can get protected.) 

"Pero kung talagang kailangan mauna ang Presidente para magkaroon ng kumpiyansa ang taong bayan, hindi ko naman po sinasabing impossibleng mangyari iyon dahil sinabi nga niya noon na mauuna siyang magpabakuna," he added.

(But if the President really needs to go first to give confidence to the public, I am not saying that it is impossible because he previously said he would go first.)

Recent surveys revealed that most Filipinos are hesitant to get anti-coronavirus shots. 

Several world leaders, including incoming US President Joe Biden and Indonesia President Joko Widodo, chose to be vaccinated in public to show confidence in the jabs.

Video courtesy of PTV

Earlier, unauthorized COVID-19 vaccinations have been reported in the country, including among the President's security men. 

COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Russia's Gamaleya Institute are expected to arrive in the country next month.