By Celerina Monte
Palace says law does not prohibit use of COVID-19 vaccines sans FDA approval
Malacanang said on Monday the law does not prohibit the use of coronavirus vaccines, which have no approval yet from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration, following President Rodrigo Duterte's statement that a lot of people, including soldiers have received Chinese COVID-19 vaccines.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a televised press briefing, said what is prohibited is the distribution and selling of vaccines, which have no FDA approval.
"First of all, our law does not prohibit vaccination (of drugs) which are not registered (with FDA). What is prohibited is the distribution and sale. So, this (vaccine) has been injected to the soldiers who agreed (to be vaccinated)," he said.
Duterte, in a televised meeting Saturday, said "a lot of people," including soldiers, received vaccines produced by Sinopharm.
Roque said the Sinopharm vaccine was the first vaccine in the world that was given the Emergency Use Authorization in China after it finished the third clinical phase trial.
He also claimed that the People's Liberation Army of China were among those who also received the vaccine.
"So, don't deprive our soldiers to have protection. Let us just accept that it is important for our soilders, those who are guarding our security, are safe from COVID so that they can perform their job," Roque said.
Asked if Duterte received the Sinopharm vaccine, the official said he has no personal information.
He said the Sinopharm vaccines were donated although he was not aware who gave it.
Roque also said Duterte was not blackmailing the United States when he warned of finally abrogating the Visiting Forces Agreement if the Philippines could not secure at least 20 million COVID-19 vaccines from America.
"There's nothing wrong with that, it's not a blackmail. It means independent foreign policy. We are not beholden. We cannot be dictated by anyone," he said. DMS