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PH envoy to US gets COVID shot

Jose Manuel Romualdez
Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez

AMBASSADOR to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez was given his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine before the formal inauguration of President-elect Jose Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris on January 20.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Romualdez said “I received the first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as part of the continuous rollout of Washington, D.C.’s phase-based vaccination program days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”

Romualdez will be officially representing the Philippines during the inauguration of Biden and Harris at the Capitol.

The Embassy said health protocols are very strict for the presidential inauguration due to COVID-19.

In an earlier briefing, Dr. Lara Brown of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. said the Presidential Inaugural Committee has done everything possible to make sure that “essentially this is a seriously pared down ceremony and event.”

She explained the ceremony is ticketed and the public is encouraged not to attend.

“It is not public,” she said.

Brown added “elected officials, members of Congress are literally only going to get one guest, so you can imagine that the stands are going to be quite sparse and there will not be many people there. They’ve also not erected sort of viewing stands for people to view the parade because they do not want people coming into Washington and watching the parade.”

“The parade appears as though it’s going to be virtual, so I imagine it will look a little bit like the Thanksgiving parade that Macy’s hosts in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, meaning that while it won’t have balloons and floats in that same kind of tradition that Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade does, it’s not going to have people crowded on the sidelines to sort of watch the procession of military cadets, marching bands, and others come down the parade route. “

Brown also said the balls have been canceled.

“It is tradition within Washington for every state to hold a state ball for the president and the first lady to then travel to the different state balls and do essentially a dance on stage at these state balls. That just is not going to happen because of all of the COVID restrictions against gatherings.”

The US has recorded more than 24 million COVID-19 cases with more than 400,000 deaths since its outbreak early last year.