Duque hopes Duterte changes mind on getting COVID-19 shots privately

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2021 04:32 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City on Aug. 10, 2020. Arman Baylon, Presidential Photo/File 

MANILA — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Wednesday he hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte would reconsider his decision to get COVID-19 shots in private.

Duterte's inoculation, if done in public, was hoped to boost Filipinos' confidence in vaccines. However, he wants to get the jabs in private because they would be administered on his buttocks, his spokesman Harry Roque had said on Tuesday. 

“Let’s respect. That is the choice of the President. But hopefully he might still change his mind because there are many world leaders who had themselves vaccinated in public,” Duque said in a press briefing in Taguig City Wednesday.

US President Joe Biden, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong got vaccinated in public. 

Duque said injecting the vaccine on the buttocks will have the same effect as injecting it on the upper arm.

“‘Yun bang magiging epekto ng bakuna pareho sa braso at sa buttocks? Pareho lang po ang magiging epekto niyan,” he said. 

(Will the effect of the vaccine be the same if administered on the arm and the buttocks? That will have the same effect.)

The 75-year-old Duterte, who has underlying health issues, belongs to groups vulnerable to developing severe symptoms of the respiratory disease. 

Roque earlier denied that Duterte refused to get the jabs in public because he has supposedly received them in secret with his security team last year. 

Watch more in iWantTFC

GOUT MEDICINE FOR COVID-19 TREATMENT?

In the same briefing, Duque said local experts might hold a trial to determine whether or not a drug commonly used to treat gout could be used for COVID-19, after some studies abroad showed encouraging results. 

“May mga pag-aaral na nagpapakita na maganda ang epekto ng Colchicine sa mga may COVID at pinag-aaralan din nila kung ito ay makakapigil ng COVID in the different applications across the various clinical manifestation of the COVID infection. Sa kasalukuyan po ay pinag-aaralan ito,” the health secretary said

(There are studies that show Colchicine has a good effect on those with COVID, and they are also studying if COVID can be stopped in the different applications across the various clinical manifestation of the COVID infection. We are studying this.)

The technical advisory group of experts that guides the inter-agency task force on COVID-19 will look into this, he said. 

“Posibleng magkaroon po tayo ng trial ng gamot na ito, pero kukuha pa po tayo ng protocol na sinusunod ng bansang Canada to be able to benefit from this unexpected serendipitous effects of Colchicine off label application, outside of gouty arthritis, gagamitin for another indication such as COVID-19,” said Duque. 

(It is possible that we will have a trial of this drug, but we will get the protocol in Canada to be able to benefit from this unexpected serendipitous effects of Colchicine off label application, outside of gouty arthritis, used for other indication such as COVID-19.)

Those who are considering using this drug should wait for additional data, he said.