Philippine lawmaker says he received 4 shots of COVID-19 vaccine


Posted at Jul 12 2021 08:12 PM

San Juan City Rep. says 2 of his jabs were 'bootleg' 

Philippine lawmaker says he received 4 shots of COVID-19 vaccine 1
San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora speaks at a press briefing on the city's success in giving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose to over 100 percent of its target population. Screenshot from RTVM Facebook livestream 

MANILA — A Philippine lawmaker disclosed on Monday that he was vaccinated against COVID-19 four times and two of the jabs he used were "bootleg" even as the health department has yet to allow booster shots. 

San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, 76, was welcoming guests at a press conference in his city, when he said, "Kung nagtataka kayo kung bakit si Congressman Zamora ay hindi nagma-mask, sasabihin ko sa inyo, I have been vaccinated twice, twice over—apat." 

(If you are wondering why Congressman Zamora no longer wears a mask, I will tell you, I have been vaccinated twice, twice over—four times.) 

Zamora said that in December 2020, he received 2 vaccine doses developed by Chinese state firm Sinopharm.

The Philippine drug regulator only issued a "compassionate use license" for the Presidential Security Group to take 10,000 Sinopharm jabs in February 2021, months after some of the members took unauthorized doses of the same vaccine. 

"Sinong nakakuha ng Sinopharm sa Pilipinas? Isa doon si Presidente," said Zamora. "Kaya lang, kung pareho ang pinagkunan namin, pareho kami bootleg. Ibig sabihin, wala akong dokumento o vaccination form na puwede akong makapag-travel." 

(Who got Sinopharm in the Philippines? One of them is the President. However, if our source is the same, we're both bootleg. That means I have no document of vaccination form that will allow me to travel.)

President Rodrigo Duterte's first vaccine dose, which he supposedly took in May, came from 1,000 Sinopharm doses that China donated, his aides have said. There is still no formal announcement whether he already received his second dose.

Zamora said his doctors told him he was "immunodeficient" and should get 2 booster shots from Pfizer-BioNTech. 
"Kaya si Congressman Zamora ngayon ay hindi na masyadong magma-mask ano," said the lawmaker, referring to himself.

"Sana hindi ako naririnig ni [Health] Secretary [Francisco] Duque," he added. 

(This is why Congressman Zamora no longer masks up that much. I hope Secretary Duque does not hear me.) 

Duque was at the briefing. He did not publicly react to the lawmaker's remarks. 

The health department was not informed of Zamora's four vaccinations, said Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. 

"This is something that they did between the individual and physician," she said in an online press conference.

"Mixing and matching booster doses ay hindi pa narerekomenda ngayon dahil hindi pa kumpleto ang ating ebidensya," added the official. 

(The mixing and matching of booster doses is not recommended right now because the evidence is still incomplete.)

The lawmaker's son, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, said his father underwent a quadruple bypass about 16 years ago and a kidney transplant some 6 years ago. 

"Iyong naging vaccination ni Congressman Ronnie Zamora ay upon doctor’s orders," the mayor said in a Malacañang press briefing. 

(The vaccination of Congressman Ronnie Zamora was upon doctor’s orders.) 

San Juan has administered at least one vaccine dose to 96,610 people, more than its target population of 92,858, Duque said during the city briefing.