Low efficacy vaccine may discourage Filipinos from getting vaccinated — Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — If the government’s choice of a vaccine against COVID-19 has a low efficacy rate, it could discourage Filipinos from getting vaccinated, Vice President Leni Robredo warned on Sunday.
“Kasi, Ka Ely [Saludar], iyong pinakamahirap diyan… ang pinaka-kampanya nga natin iyong confidence, ‘di ba, iyong tiwala sa bakuna. Kapag alam ng tao na ang baba ng efficiency o effectivity ng vaccine na ito, ‘di ba, mababa din iyong tiwala,” Robredo said over her radio program, “BISErbisyong Leni” at RMN-dzXL 558 kHz, when sought for comment about the government’s decision to choose China vaccine Sinovac, which has 50 percent efficacy rate.
(That’s the issue there… we are campaigning for confidence in the vaccine, trust in the vaccine. If we know that there is low efficiency or efficacy of the vaccine, then the trust will also be less.)
“Pero kapag alam niya na itong klaseng vaccine na ito, ganito iyong level ng effectivity, ito iyong mga nakuha noong mga kung sino, saang mga bansa, mas tataas iyong tiwala niya sa bakuna, mas maraming magpapabakuna. Pero kung alam na, Ka Ely, na iyong level of effectivity nito mababa, lalong mahihirapan tayong magkampanya na mas maraming tao iyong magpabakuna,” the vice president added.
Robredo said that even if China’s vaccine is acceptable, the government must still explain why it prefers Sinovac over other vaccines with higher levels of efficacy.
“Lalo na kasi, gaya nga ng sabi ko, Ka Ely, na marahil totoo na iyong 50 [percent] acceptable na iyon, pero mahirap kasing ipaliwanag na mayroong iba in the market na mas mura, mas mataas nang di hamak iyong level of [efficacy] —iyong pipiliin natin na mas mahal, mas mababa. Tingin ko, Ka Ely, kailangan ma-explain iyon. Kailangan ma-explain iyon sa tao, bakit ganoon,” she said.
(It is true that 50 percent is acceptable but it is difficult to explain if there are cheaper vaccines with higher levels of efficacy, but we still choose the more expensive one with a lower efficacy. They should explain that.)
Previously, the Department of Science and Technology said the efficacy rate of China’s Sinovac is acceptable as it is within the minimum requirement set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Sinovac Biotech vaccine is worth P3,629 for two doses per person. It is also the second-most-expensive vaccine available as reported by Senate committee on finance chair Sonny Angara.
However, vaccines developed by U.S. companies have higher efficacy rates namely Pfizer at 95 percent and Moderna at 94 percent.