MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte may be inoculated with a different brand of COVID-19 vaccine should Sinopharm fail to get an approval from Philippine drug regulators, a member of the country's vaccine expert panel said Thursday.
Duterte was earlier vaccinated with Sinopharm's COVID-19 jab, which has yet to receive an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"As long as hindi pa 'yan [approved for] emergency use authorization, dapat hindi ibabakuna," said Dr. Rontgene Solante, who is also the head of San Lazaro Hospital's Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine.
(It should not be administered to people as long as it is not yet approved for emergency use authorization.)
"Puwede niyang (Duterte) ipahabol ang Sinopharm [for authorization], but Sinopharm has to submit the data. Kung hindi naman puwede ang Sinopharm, puwede naman ang kahawig na bakuna, 'yung Sinovac," he said.
(He can push for Sinopharm's authorization, but Sinopharm has to submit the data. If Sinopharm fails to get the approval, he can be inoculated with Sinovac.)
Solante said he could not confirm if Duterte would be the first world leader to receive different brands of COVID-19 jabs.
"Sa ibang bansa ngayon pinag-aaralan na 'yung mix and match [ng vaccines]," he said.
(Other countries have been studying the mix and match of vaccines.)
"We have data... but that's hypothetical," he said.
Duterte earlier took a jab of the unapproved Chinese-made vaccine, saying "it's the decision of my doctor."
"We are sorry that we committed the things that you are criticizing us for. We accept responsibility," Duterte said in a taped speech, apparently addressing critics of his vaccine choice.
"Iyong itinurok sa akin (the vaccine injected into me)... It's the decision of my doctor. And all things said, this is my life," he said.
On Wednesday, the Philippine President urged China to send more COVID-19 shots from Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, instead of jabs from Chinese state firm Sinopharm.