Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte's security team gets COVID-19 vaccine without approval

WION Web Team
Manila, Philippines Published: Dec 28, 2020, 05:51 PM(IST)

Rodrigo Duterte Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Philippines is hoping to secure nearly 60 million doses for the coronavirus vaccine, with the aim to start a mass vaccination drive in the second quarter of 2021.

Several members of the Philippines's President's security team have been injected with a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine making them the first Philippines nationals to receive any vaccine against COVID-19.

The alarming fact behind this news, reported by Philippines officials on Monday is that the local health regulators have not yet given official approval to any vaccine yet, although the government is in talks with several pharmaceutical firms including Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and China's Sinopharm.

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Philippines is hoping to secure nearly 60 million doses for the coronavirus vaccine, with the aim to start a mass vaccination drive in the second quarter of 2021.

"The PSG administered Covid-19 vaccine to its personnel performing close-in security operations to the President," said unit chief Brigadier General Jesus Durante in a statement. 

Security personnel were immunised with a vaccine which has not yet been approved  the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it is not yet clear how many security personnel were provided with the vaccine.

As of now, it is confirmed that the security team has been given the Chinese vaccine. However, how many doses of the Sinopharm drug were obtained and when has not yet been made clear.

While the President's security team, Presidential Security Group (PSG), has been immunised with the vaccine, the President himself is waiting "for the perfect or appropriate vaccine".

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The news has come after the President Rodrigo Duterte had expressed his desire to act as a tester of the Chinese and Russian vaccine, claiming he has extreme confidence in the vaccines being produced by these two countries.

President's spokesperson also took this opportunity to take a direct aim at the 'unfriendly' countries and said, "The news is that the vaccine is already here and if we cannot be given Western vaccines, our friend and neighbour China is willing to give us vaccine."

 "It's not prohibited under the law to get inoculated with an unregistered (vaccine). What is illegal is the distribution and selling," he added.

As of now, Philippines has recorded more than Philippines cases, which excludes the Chirstmas and holidays surge.

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