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Philippine president’s guards used ‘smuggled’ Covid-19 vaccines: Minister

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The Philippine defence minister said on Wednesday that unapproved Covid-19 vaccines given to President Rodrigo Duterte’s military security detail had been smuggled into the country, but called the move “justified”.

News of the special troop unit being inoculated as early as September has caused a stir among activists, with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet to approve any Covid-19 vaccines and no set timeline for when health workers would receive one.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) obtained the vaccine without government authorisation and had administered them without his knowledge.

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“Yes smuggled, because they were not authorised, only the government can authorise,” he told reporters when asked if the vaccine was smuggled into the country.

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