No VIP treatment: Duque says officials OK to get COVID-19 shots first to prove vaccine safety

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2021 03:46 PM

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MANILA — Philippine officials on Wednesday said they are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 first if only to show the public that the jabs are safe and effective. 

“Handa na po kaming magpabakuna kung papahintulutan ng taong bayan. Harinawa na kapag kami ay naunang magpabakuna ay hindi kami isasailalim sa matinding batikos. Sasabihin na ‘VIP treatment ito, nauna pa sila,’” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during a televised event in Taguig.

(We are ready to be vaccinated if the public will allow us. Hopefully, if we are immunized first we won’t come under fire and be accused of receiving VIP treatment by being first.)

Duque said their only objective for being first is to show to the public that the vaccines chosen by the government were screened and are proven to be safe, of good quality and effective.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said he is also willing to do the same.

“Sabi nga ng iba if we are willing have our family to be vaccinated para at least mapakita natin sa buong mamamayan natin na ligtas ang bakuna gagawin po namin,” he said.

(As others have said, if we are willing to have our family to be vaccinated we will do it to show to everyone that the vaccines are safe.)

The Philippine government aims to vaccinate up 70 million people against the new coronavirus this year to achieve herd immunity.

It is working to lock in 148 million doses from 7 vaccine makers, on top of 40 million shots that will come from the Covax Facility, a global initiative that aims to ensure equitable access to the vaccines, said Galvez. 

The Philippines has logged over 500,000 cases of COVID-19, with more than 10,000 deaths, and is on alert for the spread of a new, more transmissible variant and a post-holiday surge.

- with a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News