MANILA - The Food and Drug Administration is facing a blank wall in its investigation into the illegal inoculation of President Rodrigo Duterte's security detail against COVID-19.
"Well, right now, if I tell you frankly, it's a blank wall. We're not getting any information. The DOH (Department of Health) is not getting information. Our people are still at it. I don't have any concrete information on that," FDA director-general Eric Domingo told ANC Tuesday.
Duterte in December bared that some members of the Presidential Security Group received Sinopharm shots. He later told them to "shut up" if summoned by Congress to explain their unauthorized vaccination.
In February, the state medical regulator allowed Duterte's security team to import and use 10,000 Sinopharm shots.
Domingo said they were also continuing their investigation on special envoy to China Mon Tulfo's admission of use of a smuggled COVID-19 vaccine.
"We passed on the reports to our enforcement unit late last week. I guess they should be starting with the investigation now but I have no word from that yet," he said.
Tulfo had said he got hold of unauthorized anti-coronavirus shots from Sinopharm through a friend "who smuggled it into the country."
He took the illegally procured vaccine with some "Cabinet-level" officials, a senator and some members of Duterte's security team, the columnist had said in an interview with One News.
As the country launched its COVID-19 inoculation program Monday, Domingo called for vigilance against smuggled vaccines.
"I think this is the time we really have to watch out for smuggling. Once you get legal vaccines coming in, that's also the time that you know these evil people will take advantage and tried to smuggle in fake or even substandard drugs and try to pass them off and sell them as actual and legal products [or] legal vaccines," he said.
Domingo was among those first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine developed by another Chinese company, Sinovac.
"It was quite pleasant. Our nurses are very good... I don't feel a thing. Until now, I'm not experiencing adverse events," he said.