THE cat is out of the bag.
It appears some government officials allegedly have been vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
According to Ramon Tulfo, broadcaster and President Rodrigo Duterte’s special envoy to China, they used vaccines that were not registered or authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Tulfo should know.
He admitted that he, too, was injected with the smuggled vaccine made by state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm of China back in October 2020.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo said they will refer Tulfo’s disclosure to the agency’s regulatory unit for investigation.
It’s what many members of the public have suspected all along since news came out that members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine late last year.
Some government VIPs couldn’t wait along with the rest of the people they had sworn to serve and protect for the national government to roll out its vaccination program. They had to jump the line.
Getting hold of the vaccine, smuggled or not, wouldn’t have been so hard for persons in power. So it’d be unfair to single out government officials. It wouldn’t be farfetched to surmise that some captains of industry have also availed themselves of the vaccine. What with their wealth and position in society.
After all, getting vaccinated against Covid-19 is not illegal, per se. The only reason the Sinopharm vaccine is not allowed for use in the country is because it is not covered by an emergency use authorization or product registration.
In fact, a handful of countries, the Philippines included, have set a vaccination target.
But the local scenario is being played out on the global stage with rich countries getting first dibs. That means the Philippines will have to wait its turn.
The 600,000 doses of Sinovac donated by China that are said to arrive in the country on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, are not intended for the masses. The first recipients are hospitals and medical frontliners. The rest will have to wait.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Philippines is not expected to fully recover from Covid-19 pandemic until early 2023 while richer countries like the US and members of the European Union can expect life to return to normal later this year.
It may be a sad fact, but it is also the reality.
As for Tulfo and the government VIPs who have been vaccinated, they just happen to have the right position and to be in the right place at the right time.