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Sun.Star Cebu - 2021-05-05

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Duterte gets first dose

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/ SUNSTAR PHILIPPINES

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has received his first dose of a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Monday evening, May 3, 2021, Malacañang said. The inactivated vaccine produced by Sinopharm is not yet approved for emergency use in the Philippines, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued a compassionate special permit (CSP) to the Presidential Security Group (PSG) for 10,000 doses. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte’s inoculation was covered by the CSP. A video posted by state television network PTV showed that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III administered the shot to Duterte. The Sinopharm vaccine was used to inoculate PSG members in 2020, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed in December. The PSG is an agency under the AFP that provides close-in security to the President and members of his family. Not even a CSP had been issued then for the use of the vaccine. The AFP leadership had ordered, but later cancelled, the conduct of a fact-finding investigation. Congress also wanted to look into the matter. Duterte, however, warned Congress against summoning the PSG and ordered the PSG head not to obey any summons from Congress. In February 2021, the FDA issued a CSP to the PSG for the use of the Sinopharm vaccine. Sinopharm’s application for an emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines is still pending with the FDA. Sinopharm, or China National Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd., is a state-owned pharmaceutical company engaged in the full industry chain from research and development to manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and retail, among others. (Marites Villamor-Ilano

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