PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has decided to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in public, Malacañang said Monday.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Duterte will get inoculated with a vaccine publicly after initially announcing his preference to have it done in private.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go was the first to say over the weekend that Duterte may get vaccinated in public if his physician would approve of it to boost confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.
“I think the President has said that he will now have himself vaccinated publicly. He only has to announce when it will be done,” Roque said.
Roque said Duterte agreed to be vaccinated in public if there is a “public clamor” for him to do so.
“Dahil ninanais po ng Presidente na lahat ng Pilipino ay magkaroon ng kumpiyansa na magpabakuna dahil ang bakuna po ang solusyon dito sa pandemya ng COVID-19,” he said.
Citing Go, Roque said other top officials should also get vaccinated to prove that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
“Sinabi na rin po ni Senator Bong Go na yung ibang mga high officials should volunteer, and they have in fact volunteered, LGU mayors have said that they will volunteer to be first in line for the vaccination,” he said.
Roque also appealed to the public not to criticize officials should they be the first to receive COVID-19 shots.
“Ang aking ini-emphasize lang, huwag naman po kapag nauna mga namumuno e sasabihin VIP [very important person] na naman. Gagawin lang po natin ‘yan dahil nga kinakailangan mapataas natin yung kumpiyansa ng ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna,” he said.
Meanwhile, Roque said he would leave to the Department of Health (DOH) to decide on whether to allow Vice President Leni Robredo to be among the top officials vaccinated to boost vaccine confidence.
“I leave that to the DOH because the President has said ‘Okay, if you want me to and there’s public clamor’, he said he will. I do not know if there’s also a public clamor for the Vice President. But I also know in terms of priority, the President is a senior citizen and entitled to priority. Let’s see if the VP will fall under any of the priorities,” he said.
Robredo earlier expressed willingness to receive shots to allay concerns over the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.
In the government’s priority list, senior citizens aged 60 and above fall under the “A2” cluster or second in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
Results of a Pulse Asia survey conducted between November 23 and Dec. 2, 2020 showed that nearly 50 percent of 2,300 respondents are unwilling to get inoculated for COVID-19, 32 percent are willing to get the vaccine, and 21 percent are undecided.
Among those who refused, 84 percent cited safety of the vaccine as their reason for refusal. Philippine News Agency