President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 28, 2020. RICHARD MADELO/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Malacañang on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte was willing to receive the first shot of the Sinovac vaccines from China once they reach the Philippines, but his vaccination would not be held in public.

In a virtual presser, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte would “take the route of the British Sovereign” and be vaccinated privately.

“(Duterte’s) answer was ‘no problem, I will take the vaccine as soon as it is available,’ dahil siya nga daw po ay talagang kailangan niyang magkaroon ng bakuna,” Roque said.

“Pero ang sabi niya hindi na kinakailangan ipakita ito sa publiko. He is taking the route of the British Sovereign ano, dahil naging desisyon po nila Queen Elizabeth at ng kaniyang asawa na pribado iyong pagtuturok sa kanila,” he added.

In August last year, Duterte expressed willingness to receive the first doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to assure the public of its safety.

“Pagdating ng bakuna, in public, para walang satsat diyan, magpa-injection ako. Ako ‘yung unang pag-experimentuhan,” he said.

“Kaya ako, para ipakita ko sa kanila na nagtiwala ako at hindi sila nagkamali mag-offer… ako ang unang magpabakuna. Kung puwede sa akin, puwede sa lahat,” he added.

It was the second time Duterte distanced himself from his earlier offer to be the “guinea pic” to allay the public’s fears on Covid-19 vaccines.

On Jan. 13, he said government officials including himself would be the last to get inoculated and that members of his government would only make use of leftover vaccines.

“Pagdating ng [bakuna], kung milyon ‘yan, magsabay-sabay na kayo lahat, at saka huli na kami. Kung may maiwan, para sa amin: kay (Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go), kay Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana… Kung may maiwan, e ‘di para sa atin. Unahin natin sila,” he said.

The following is the priority list for the country’s vaccination as per Duterte:

  1. frontline health workers
  2. teachers, social workers and other government workers
  3. essential workers outside health, education, social welfare (working in agriculture, food, tourism sectors)
  4. socio-demographic groups, overseas Filipino workers
  5. uniformed personnel

China has pledged 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccines to be delivered to the country monthly until December this year.

The first batch of 50,000 doses is expected to arrive in February. John Ezekiel J. Hirro