Palace denies Duterte discouraging COVID-19 booster jabs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2022 01:54 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2022 02:02 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte gives a public statement after holding a meeting with key government officials at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on Jan. 17, 2021. Roemari Lismonero, Presidential Photo
President Rodrigo Duterte gives a public statement after holding a meeting with key government officials at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on Jan. 17, 2021. Roemari Lismonero, Presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte urges Filipinos to get COVID-19 booster shots, Malacañang said on Monday, after some groups spread a spliced video of his previous, contradicting remark. 

The viral clip shows Duterte questioning how a person can self-check for antibodies if they get more than 2 vaccine doses. "Kung meron, ‘wag mo sobrahan kasi masama," he said in what appeared to be a public address. 

(If there are antibodies, don't get too much because that's bad.) 

However, Duterte issued the statement back in September 2021, when only 21 million Filipinos have been vaccinated and government had yet to approve booster jabs, said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. 

"The said video clip should be viewed in the proper context," he said in a statement. 

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"The situation today is now vastly different. Last November, upon the recommendation of our health experts, the government approved the use of booster doses for all fully vaccinated individuals as we had ample supplies of vaccines and a substantial percentage of our population was already fully vaccinated," added the official. 

Nograles also noted that the President last Dec. 21 urged the public to “take advantage” of the sufficient supply of vaccines and get boosters to dodge the highly transmissible omicron COVID-19 variant.

There is "clear evidence" that COVID-19 booster shots provide additional protection against the virus, added Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. 

"Sana ‘wag naman po ta yong magpakasangkapan sa mga fake news o mga balitang walang batayan," he said in a public briefing. 

(Let us not allow ourselves to be used for fake news or information that lacks basis.)

About 57.2 Filipinos have been fully inoculated against COVID-19 and at least 6.2 million have received vaccine top-ups. 

The Philippines this month logged several record-high infections, pushing overall COVID-19 infections to some 3.4 million and prompting government to tighten restrictions in Metro Manila and several other areas.