The local Food and Drug Authority (FDA) today vowed to investigate Special Envoy for Public Diplomacy to China Ramon “Mon” Tulfo’s illegal use of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine, which has yet to be registered in the Philippines.
“We will refer this report to our regulatory enforcement unit so they can investigate it,” FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said in a televised presser today.
“It’s not good to know that there is this vaccination that didn’t go through the proper process…Sinopharm has yet to send an application for emergency use authorization to the FDA,” he said.
Tulfo wrote in his Manila Times column early this week that he, along with several unnamed government officials, had himself vaccinated with Sinopharm in October.
“Some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were also injected with the same vaccine. Don’t ask me where I got the vaccine because I will never tell you,” he wrote.
Tulfo said he wanted to be a distributor of the China-made drug, “that’s why I risked my life to have myself inoculated ahead of the public.”
The PSG, President Rodrigo Duterte’s security, admitted in December that they used smuggled doses of Sinopharm to protect themselves against the coronavirus. Duterte had defended his men and ordered them to “stay put in the barracks” and not show up should they be invited to a Senate investigation.
The FDA had already launched a probe into the PSG’s illegal use of the drug, to no avail.
“The one about PSG, until now, they haven’t responded yet to our questions, same with the ones sent by the DOH [Department of Health]. They wrote to them but as of now, we haven’t received any information [from them],” Domingo said.
Meanwhile, Domingo said that healthcare workers could use Sinovac’s CoronaVac if they want to. The FDA granted a license to the China-made drug early this week but said it was not recommended for medical workers who are exposed to COVID-19 because its efficacy rate hovers around 50%.
“We are not stopping them from using it. Actually, for healthcare workers who want to have it, they can get it,” he said.
This article, Presidential adviser Mon Tulfo to be investigated for using unregistered COVID vax, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.