NITAG allowed vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, testing czar Vince Dizon, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos to join the first vaccinations to help boost confidence in CoronaVac, China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine.
But some wonder why some government officials were vaccinated during the first three days of the vaccine rollout.
These include Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, MMDA Chief of Staff Michael Salalima, Pasay City Vice Mayor Noel del Rosario, and House health panel chair Angelina Tan.
But Malaya and Tan defended those who raised eyebrows.
“Kami kasi sa DILG, maituturing din kaming frontliner. Pangalawa, kailangan mauna ang government officials na magpabakuna para lumakas ang vaccine confidence,” said Malaya.
“I am a medical doctor despite being a congresswoman. Part of my regular rounds every week is giving free consultation to sick people… I did not violate any laws nor policies,” said Tan.
The Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) where Tan was vaccinated, is open for investigation.
Vaccination of some politicians, officials criticized
According to Galvez, government officials who have already been vaccinated were already reprimanded.
“In-admonish na po sila ng ating (MMDA) General Manager,” said Galvez. “‘Yung under ng MMDA. Pinagsabihan din po ‘yung Vice Mayor. Na talagang ‘yung ginawa po nila ay hindi po tama.”
Galvez, on the other hand, understands their intention to encourage the public to use the newly arrived vaccines. But he said the supply of COVID-19 vaccines is still limited.
He added that they will find out if Malaya is covered by the vaccination.
“Hindi ko po alam kung may directive siya from above. We will look into it,” he said.
The Palace defended the vaccination of Salalima and Malaya.
“The two naman, in good faith, thought that they were doing the nation a service by having themselves vaccinated kasi nga mataas pa iyong tinatawag nating distrust sa bakuna,” said Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.