Zubiri cries unfair to Roque’s remarks Filipinos can’t choose vaccine brand
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday did not appreciate presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s comments that Filipinos cannot choose which brand of the vaccine they will receive in the government’s vaccination program.
“I don’t like the idea—with all due respect to Sec. Roque, who just came out in the news today—Sec. Roque said you can’t choose what vaccine to take. Sabi niya [He said], we cannot daw choose what vaccine to take. I think that’s not a fair assessment,” Zubiri said during a Senate inquiry into the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination plan.
Earlier Monday, Roque said the public could not afford to be “picky” with the COVID-19 vaccines citing the large number of Filipinos who need to be vaccinated against the disease.
But Zubiri said that Filipinos ought to be given the option between which vaccinations should be given to them.
Quoting news reports regarding Indonesia’s vaccination plan, the senator noted that the said country would start vaccinating its younger population ahead of the elderly because the vaccine brand it would be using—China’s Sinovac—“does not have enough data yet on the vaccine’s efficacy on elderly people.”
“So bakit natin pipilitin, for example, ang ating mga nanay at tatay, lolo at lola ng Sinovac na very clearly, Indonesia mismo ang nagsasabi ay mukhang malabo ito sa matatanda?” Zubiri asked.
(So why do we force, for example, our parents, our grandparents to be inoculated with Sinovac’s vaccine when very clearly, Indonesia has said that its efficacy on the elderly is still not certain?)
“Then we should give them Pfizer, we should give them Moderna or Astrazeneca,” Zubiri went on.
“We will continue to harp this issue to allow more sectors to bring in the vaccine and to bring the people the choice,” he also said.
During the same hearing, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is eyeing to secure a total of 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within the week.
Galvez said the Philippines has so far secured 30 million doses of Covovax coronavirus vaccine, which he said could be extended to 40 million doses.
He added that the government has also secured 25 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine while 30 million doses of vaccine from British drugmaker AstraZeneca, and 25 million doses of Russia’s Gamaleya or Sputnik V vaccine are seen to be acquired by the government. [ac]
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