Duque ready to take first shot of COVID-19 after its evaluation

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yes to a lawmaker’s challenge of taking the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine that will be available in the country so he could prove its safety and effectiveness to Filipinos.

However, the health chief will only agree only after the vaccines have been evaluated.

“Sure, I will have myself vaccinated once the Vaccine Expert Panel of the DOST and FDA’s regulatory and technical evaluation determine the safety quality and effectiveness of the vaccines,” Duque said.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go earlier challenged Duque and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. to take the first shots of the anti-coronavirus drug to encourage Filipinos to avail of the vaccines once they become ready next year.

So far, the Philippine government has secured 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine through the help of private sector donations, with its application already forwarded to the FDA for its final approval.

The country is also projected to receive doses from China’s Sinovac and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute as early as the first quarter of 2021 amid “advanced” supply negotiations.

According to the Budget Department, the Philippines is ready to spend more than ₱73 billion to vaccinate 60 million Filipinos.

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