MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is "temporary", his spokesman said on Monday, as public confidence in the jabs remains low.
Duterte on Monday said he would “waive” his slot in the vaccination drive, and that whoever wanted it could have it. He said those who "would live and live productively" should be prioritized in the inoculation.
"Panandaliang sentimyento po ni Presidente iyong sinabi niya kahapon na habang hindi pa sapat po ang mga bakuna, hahayaan na muna niya na mauna ang ating mga kababayan bago siya," said the President's spokesman Harry Roque.
(The President's statement yesterday–that he will let our compatriots go first while vaccines are not yet enough–is temporary.)
"Siguro po ‘pag talagang dumagsa na iyong ating supply at kinakailangan madaliin na talaga ang pagbabakuna sa lahat, eh iyon po iyong panahon na magpapabakuna ang ating Presidente," he said in a press briefing.
(Perhaps when the supply increases and the vaccination needs to be sped up, that the time when our President will get vaccinated.)
Duterte has said he prefers the COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese state firm Sinopharm, which has yet to secure emergency use authorization in the Philippines.
Duterte last year revealed that some members of his security team took unauthorized Sinopharm shots.
Rejecting talk that the President has been vaccinated in secret, Roque said: “Hanggang speculation lang po ‘yan.”
(That's just speculation.)
Vice President Leni Robredo and several others earlier urged Duterte to get vaccinated in public to boost public confidence in the shots.
About 6 in 10 Filipinos are hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a recent Pulse Asia survey showed.