It is not illegal for anyone to get inoculated with an unregistered coronavirus vaccine in the country as long as the drug is not commercially imported, distributed and sold, MalacaƱang announced Monday.

After President Duterte admitted some soldiers have taken vaccine shots developed by a Chinese company, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said it will still be a personal decision if someone wants to get vaccinated.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

To date, the FDA has not given approval for the emergency use of any COVID vaccines in the country.

“Hindi ipinagbabawal ng batas natin ang magpaturok ng hindi rehistrado. Ang bawal po ‘yung distribution at ‘yung pagbebenta. Ito naman ay tinurok sa mga sundalo na pumayag (The law does not prohibit us from getting inoculated with an unregistered product. The distribution and sale of such product however is prohibited. The vaccine was given to the soldiers who agreed),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday.

Roque assured that the coronavirus vaccines given to the soldiers are safe since it already got an emergency approval from Chinese government. He also said vaccine shots given to soldiers were “not bought” but were donated. Roque however has no information about the identity of the donor of the vaccines for the government troops.

Roque also tried to assure the public about the country’s imminent vaccine supply. He said if the country could not immediately secure supply from western vaccine makers, Chinese-made vaccines are available.

The Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, Roque said, are among the drugs that got an early emergency use approval from China since July. He noted that these vaccines have shown high efficacy rate in some countries.

“Kung ayaw magbigay ng western, nandiyan naman ang Tsina. Pero inaasahan natin na lahat sila magbibigay  (If the west refuse to give vaccines, China is there. But we expect everyone will give) because ang law applicable ngayon is the law of humanity in times of pandemic,” he said.

In his public address last Saturday, the President revealed that almost all soldiers have been inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine. Duterte said he wanted to be frank and truthful about the vaccination of the soldiers.

The President earlier said he wanted the soldiers and cops as among the first to get inoculated with the coronavirus vaccines to ensure their health.

The government has already initiated negotiations to get supplies from vaccine makers abroad. Among the pharmaceutical companies are Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinovac, Gamaleya and SinoPharm.

Source: Manila Bulletin (