President Rodrigo Duterte is now open to getting inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine in public to boost the confidence of Filipinos to get the jab themselves, according to Malacañang.
In a virtual press briefing Monday, Feb. 15, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, “I think the President has said he will now have himself vaccinated publicly. He only has to announce when it will be done.” The spokesperson did not say which vaccine the President will get.
Roque said that the President’s move to get vaccinated in public is “in recognition of the fact na naghihintay ng senyales ang taong-bayan kung talagang sila’y magpapabakuna o hindi. I think that is a policy that we will now pursue.”
Just last month, Roque initially announced that the President preferred to have himself inoculated in private because the President wanted to get the jab through his buttocks. The reason for getting the vaccine through that body part was not revealed, however, Roque said the President wanting to get vaccinated in private was a "personal decision. I don't think he has to explain."
In August 2020, President Duterte offered to be the first one to try the COVID-19 vaccine donations by Russia to prove how safe it is.
"Mag-injection muna tayo ng iilan, tapos tingnan natin ang resulta. You will be given the vaccine, and reaction ng katawan mo, tatanggapin ba o hindi. There will be volunteers. Ako, pagdating ng bakuna—in public—para walang satsat diyan,in public mag pa-injection ako. Ako ‘yung mauna ma-eksprimentuhan," the President said in August.
According to a study by the OCTA Group in December 2020, only 25% of Metro Manila residents are willing to take the jab against COVID-19, while 47 percent are undecided and 28 percent are unwilling to be vaccinated.
In January, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. highlighted that the President can help convince people to get inoculated, amid the calls for the Chief Executive to publicly get the first COVID-19 jab to boost the confidence of Filipinos to get vaccinated.