Malacañang on Monday defended the move of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to have some of its personnel inoculated by the vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) provided by China’s Sinopharm despite the firm not having any local regulatory approval yet.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that getting inoculated with a vaccine without approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines is not a violation of Republic Act 9711 or the FDA Act of 2009.
“The law does not prohibit individuals from getting inoculated with vaccines that are not registered. What’s prohibited is the distribution and sale. So, this was only given to soldiers who agreed,” he said in Filipino.
Citing FDA Director General Eric Domingo, isolated inoculation of vaccines is allowed if it is not commercially distributed or sold.
“The FDA said that if the vaccine was not commercially distributed, commercially sold, it won’t be penalized or prohibited,” Roque said in Filipino.
Roque said receiving the Sinopharm vaccine was .a “personal decision” of some military personnel, adding that it is currently among the “most widely-used” vaccine so far.
He also noted that nearly 1 million Chinese people including workers, government officials, and students have received the Sinopharm vaccine. Only a few people experienced symptoms but there were no adverse reactions.
Roque also appealed to the public not to deny members of the military from receiving Covid-19 vaccines early, noting that as front-liners they deserved to receive protection against Covid-19. SOVEREIGNPH