MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to be inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine to allay public fears over the drug's safety, his spokesman said Monday.
Duterte, 75, belongs to the vulnerable sector who are at risk of suffering serious symptoms of COVID-19. He is "the best communication tool," to demonstrate vaccine safety, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"Ang Presidente, hindi na makahintay," Roque said.
"Gusto niyang talagang maturukan na siya nang mapakita sa buong bayan na ligtas at epektibo, ito po'y dumaan sa expert panel group ng pinakadalubhasang Pilipino at iyan po ay it comes with their highest endorsement," he told reporters.
(The President can't wait. He wants to be vaccinated to show the country that it is safe and effective, it passed the expert panel group and it comes with their highest endorsement.)
The President last week allowed the emergency use of vaccines (EUA) for COVID-19. These vaccines should already be undergoing clinical trial for thousands of people abroad, said Roque.
Asked if the President would take a vaccine candidate during emergency use, he said, "Yes. That is the impact of the Executive order on EUA."
"Kung papayagan po ng FDA, I think po mangunguna ang Presidente. At nag-volunteer naman po s’ya. In fact, gustong-gusto na n’ya," he added.
(If the Food and Drug Administration will allow, I think the President will be first. And he has volunteered. In fact, he wants it badly.)
Vice President Leni Robredo over the weekend said she was okay with government officials getting the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine if this would encourage Filipinos to get inoculated.
"Nauna na po si Presidente magsabi na willing siya (The President was first to say he was willing). Let's hope she can be a guinea pig," Roque said of Robredo.