Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday received the first dose of China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine, which has yet to get emergency use authorization in the country.
In a video posted on Facebook by his close aide, Senator Christopher Go, Duterte said his doctor chose Sinopharm after making an assessment of the available vaccines
“I feel good and I have been expecting this shot, vaccination a long time ago,” the 76-year-old president said before he was given the jab by Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the dose given to Duterte was covered by the compassionate use permit issued by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration in February for 10,000 doses.
Members of the president’s security group were also given the Sinopharm vaccine.
Go said the president got inoculated not only to protect himself but to also encourage the public to get vaccinated.
According to a survey in February and March, six of 10 Filipinos are hesitant to get vaccinated due to safety concerns.
Later, in a late-night public address, Duterte warned Filipinos of the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not a game,” he said. “That’s why I’m scared too. If I get infected, there’s no way of telling whether I would live and see the light of day the following day.”
On Monday, the Philippines’ total caseload stood at 1,062,225 after the Department of Health reported 7,255 additional cases. The death toll was up by 94 to 17,525.
The Philippines has so far secured about 4 million Covid-19 vaccines, most them Sinovac, which is also produced in China. More than 1.8 million does have been administered around the country.
The Philippine government said its vaccination campaign aims to inoculate up to 70 million of the country’s total population of around 110 million by the end of the year.