Special Envoy for Public Diplomacy to China Ramon Tulfo Jr. is under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after he admitted receiving a smuggled Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine. 

In a Laging Handa briefing, FDA chief Eric Domingo said Tulfo’s public admission was problematic. 

“Iniimbestigahan siya dahil talaga nga pong hindi naman po maganda na nalalaman natin na may mga ganitong mga nagpapabakuna ng hindi po dumadaan sa tamang proseso,” he said. 

Sinopharm vaccines have yet to secure emergency use authorization in the country. However, 10,000 doses of the vaccines were earlier approved for “compassionate use” in the country. 

In a Manila Times column, Tulfo admitted receiving a Sinopharm vaccine along with other government officials and members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in October 2020. 

“Why did I have myself inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine? That’s another confession: I have applied to be one of the distributors of the Sinopharm vaccine in the country, that’s why I risked my life to have myself inoculated ahead of the public,” he wrote. 

“Three weeks after I got the vaccine, I told the President about its lack of troublesome side effects during my visit to him in December last year… Apparently the President’s close aides dissuaded him from doing it, as it would have created repercussions.It turned out they were right, what with all the ruckus created in the media after it was reported that the PSG soldiers had gotten the vaccine,” he added.

Domingo said the PSG had yet to respond to health officials’ inquiry about Tulfo’s revelation.

Earlier, Domingo said the vaccination of PSG members was illegal as Sinopharm has yet to get authorization for mass use in the country.

“Ipinagbabawal po ang pagbebenta, pagdi-distribute, pagdi-dispense ng hindi registered na bakuna at ongoing na po ang ating investigation,” Domingo said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro